The 24-19 Blue Jays are firmly in possession of a postseason spot at the moment, and an already-strong roster could soon get a major reinforcement. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that young shortstop Bo Bichette could return from the injured list in tie for this weekend’s series against the Mets. Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet tweeted yesterday that Bichette was 2-for-3 in a simulated game Tuesday before taking four plate appearances and playing six inning at shortstop in another sim game Wednesday.
Bichette, 22, has been nothing short of amazing through his first 60 big league games, hitting .323/.366/.595 with 16 homers, 22 doubles and eight stolen bases through 276 trips to the plate. He was particularly remarkable in 14 games this season before suffering a knee sprain, as he’d slashed .361/.391/.672 through his first 64 plate appearances. The Jays are off today, but a return tomorrow could mean Bichette returns for as many as 17 games to close out the regular season.
In Bichette’s absence, the Blue Jays have relied on the trio of Santiago Espinal, Joe Panik and recent trade acquisition Jonathan Villar have worked to hold down the fort at shortstop — with mixed results. Panik has hit quite well since Bichette went down (.327/.444/.423), though he’s spent more time at his customary second base than on the other side of the bag at shortstop. Espinal carries a .282/.326/.359 slash in 44 plate appearances dating back to Bichette’s injury. Villar, the most established player of the bunch, has struggled to a .194/.306/.194 slash in 33 plate appearances over his eight games in Toronto.
With 17 games remaining on the schedule and none against the division-leading Rays, the Blue Jays are a long shot to overtake Tampa Bay for the division lead. However, they’ll follow up this weekend’s three-game series against the Mets with three games at Yankee Stadium, and they still have another four-game set against the Yankees later this month. With the Yanks trailing the Jays by two games and seven contests between the two clubs still to come, Bichette’s impending return carries all the more consequence.
Bo’s return will definitely help, after losing both Téllez and Hernandez. Montoya needs to let the starter pitch and quick pulling them early especially if they are pitching well.
Agreed. I miss the days of pitchers pitching complete games, now the advanced stats are relied upon to say when to pull someone. I completely understand Roark’s frustration with his comments after getting pulled yesterday.
I can definitely understand the frustrations of roak and shoemaker on being pulled early. And pearson stating that he gets better as the game goes on. But feom a coach and gm point of view. Its a 60 game season in 64 days you dont have the luxury of offdays nor do you have the luxury of leaving the starter in to long to find their groove. And if this year is any indication our starting pitchers including ryu start to get beat up around the 3rd 4th inning all season. Its a trend all over the mlb starters are going shorter games. This year theres just far less room for error.
But also at the same time, a shortened season means these pitchers who are used to pitching 180+ innings a year won’t be pitching anywhere close to that over the season. There should be a happy medium there somewhere, the bullpen can’t keep pitching 5 or 6 innings a game in a season with fewer off-days
Roark is primarily a sinkerballer, throwing it 40-50% of the time. His career ISO with that pitch the first time through the order is .101, the second time .136 and the third time .173. So there is *some* justification for pulling him earlier. Also, in 2019 Roark faded badly at the end of the season when he got tired – a 3.51 ERA in the first half became 5.42 in the second half. So some justification in keeping him fresh.
I mentioned it in my above response to Brent, fatigue shouldn’t be a huge issue in a season that’s so short. These guys are used to pitching many more innings over the course of a full season
I agree with letting starters throw 120 pitches if they’re pitching well. But I also agree with pulling Roark, because he was giving up a bunch of walks and home runs, and the only reason he hadn’t given up 5 runs is that he was very lucky about the order in which things happened. Can’t keep tempting fate with a guy who can’t locate and will miss either on or off the plate.
Any relation to Dante?
@jessaumodesto- yes, Dante is his Dad
Yeah that’s his kid
Jays have legacy players all over that line up. From him, to vlad, to biggio….
How do you not know this? Lmfao!
As a Jays fan it warms my heart to hear they have an “already strong roster”. Lots will criticize Shapiro and Atkins but IMHO they’ve done a pretty good job. No they aren’t perfect and have made some questionable moves, but overall the club is heading in the right direction and their farm is still strong which will hopefully lead to some sustained success over the coming years.
They could win a WS and Jays fans will still want them run out of town.
The BlueJays are NOT winning a World Series this year with the terrible starting pitching staff that they have. They have one pitcher, Ryu.
The previous commenter didn’t say that the would.
No, perhaps they won’t. But I think the post-season experience the young players would gain (assuming they make it) this year is invaluable towards their development. It won’t be the same playoff-like atmosphere, but it is playoff experience nonetheless.
jimmer… again you overstate. Taijuan is a far cry from terrible and they have several great young starters pitching relief. Remember, the SP are replacing several pitchers with recent solid performances. Many playoff teams are in the same boat due to injuries.
wild bill tetley
Upper management has done some good and some bad. At 24-19 and portraying a “smoke and mirrors” baseball squad we are far away from giving the GM and President their props. The team still lacks some basic fundamentals and discipline, brought in a guy in Villar with close to zero baseball IQ and there have been some huge missteps the last few years along with ownership’s utter refusal to run the AL East.
I will agree with you, Mask, that making the postseason is a good experience for this young team. Over a 162 game season this team cannot play like this and expect success. They have a ways to go.
I think the fundamentals and discipline will come with time, it’s still one of the youngest teams in all of baseball and have many years to grow and learn together. They’ve achieved a better record than expected, and are deep enough to seemingly maintain their record while dealing with some injuries. Going for and getting Ryu this past offseason was critical, but also shows Shapiro and Atkins are willing to spend a little to supplement the core. The future is bright for the Jays, I think many can agree on that.
wild bill tetley
How much time, exactly? They couldn’t figure this out in high school? Villar is 29 and still makes little league mistakes on the bases. Let’s stop with the time crap; know how to play the game or else you’re not reaching the next level.
They’ve achieved a better record than expected with some offensive performances exceeding expectations along with a weakened NL and AL East. Is the future bright? Maybe. They have a good young crop of talent without question. So did the mid-90’s Blue Jays.
Jays fans will still want them run out of town if they win a WS this year? Huh?
First, the team is already run out of town. Second, what are you talking about?
I’m not a Jays fan but I find it really cool that they have so many sons of former Major Leagers, a couple of which are HOF’ers. Bichette, Vlad Guerrero, Cavan Biggio, and they just traded Jeff Conines son to The Marlins where his dad was known as “Mr. Marlin”. It’s a very cool story.
Forgetting another one as well
Who? I’m drawing a blank
Travis Shaws’ father was a really good releiver during the 1990’s.
Gurriel Jr is the son of a Cuban star as well.
Just released Kacy Clemens this year too.
Dante has another son, Dante Jr., a first round pick of the Yankees who flamed out in the low minors. I have a signed jersey from when he played for the Charleston RiverDogs in the Sally League. I just wanted one MLB appearance so I could sell it.
Well I’m glad it backfired on you!
Let’s hope Bo picks up where he left off. The season could still turn on a dime. Nice to see contributions from Davis and Fisher.
If Panik is your SS, you should panic
Stupid… was that suppose to be an attempt at humor? He’s done pretty decent as a fill in.
He’s done well with the bat recently, but both him and Villar should only be playing SS when they are in desperate need of a fill in. Once Bo is back, neither should see the left side of the infield really, but they probably will since Espinal will more than likely be the guy who is moved to the taxi squad since they’re kind of in need of outfielders as well.
wild bill tetley
Jays should have their heads examined if they taxi squad Espinal. Drop McKinney. Biggio can head to the outfield if need be.
If Bichette is your SS, you should be set
The Mandalorian 2: The Return of Bo Bichette.
wild bill tetley
For the guy who took a shot at Panik, I’d rather have him at SS than Villar any day of the week. Villar is a wasted talent.
With that said, cannot wait for Bo to return. The Jays need him just to play SS. Too bad Tellez and Teoscar went down, because the lengthened batting lineup would look dangerous. Espinal has played well defensively at SS but they need Bo to bring stability. Considering defense is something Bo’s had to work on to improve at short, it’s amazing that he’s needed more for his glove. Having Villar at shortstop is a waste of time. Gurriel’s probably a better SS than Villar.
Villar has had an incredibly terrible couple of weeks, but it doesn’t change that fact that he’s a perfectly adequate average player.
wild bill tetley
His terrible weeks are normal. I told you he could not play shortstop, you didn’t believe me, he showed it again and you are now making excuses. Villar has had plenty of major league experience to resolve the mental mistakes. Physically he has shown he cannot handle the left side of the infield. If you want an adequate baseball player they better be a smart player. Dumb has costed Villar trips to the All Star game. He has that much talent.
I am more mad at how much they gave up for him. I mean he has been nothing short of awful at all aspects of the game since he was traded for, but even at his normal career self it was a dumb trade. If the cost was very low, acquiring him would have been fine as insurance but no. Don’t get me started on the Chicken Strip trade. but even he is under control for a few years so if you squint you could maybe see where they were coming from.
wild bill tetley
Diggy I agree. Prior to the deadline I was hoping for a soft deadline lift, dealing the better-than-expected bullpen arms. They kept winning and that changed the scenario. But how do scouts miss on Villar’s on-field mental lapses? Conine and Williams could have been packaged with others for a bigger piece, IMO.