The Blue Jays have placed right fielder Jose Bautista on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee sprain and recalled outfielder Junior Lake from Triple-A Buffalo to take his roster spot, according to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star (Twitter link). Bautista is the second full-time Jays outfielder to hit the DL this week, joining Kevin Pillar (thumb).
This is the second DL stint of the year for Bautista, who previously missed over a month on account of a sprained toe. Bautista just returned from that ailment July 25 before suffering his latest injury Tuesday. In the 80 appearances Bautista has made this year, he has hit a disappointing .222/.349/.444 in 355 plate appearances, though he has added 15 home runs while continuing to show mastery over the strike zone (16.3 percent walk rate versus a 17.7 percent strikeout rate). Still, combining the decline in Bautista’s 2016 numbers – which are well below the figures he has posted since breaking out in 2010 – with his age (36 in October) and two DL placements doesn’t seem to bode well for the impending free agent’s earning power during the upcoming winter.
From a team standpoint, losing Bautista is clearly a notable blow for playoff-contending Toronto, which carries a 64-50 record into Tuesday and is mere percentage points behind AL East-leading Baltimore. Without Bautista and Pillar, the Jays’ outfield alignment will consist of recent pickup Melvin Upton Jr. in center field, Michael Saunders in right and Darrell Ceciliani in left, as their depth chart shows.