The Blue Jays will be without catcher Alejandro Kirk for at least the next four weeks after sustaining a hip flexor injury, general manager Ross Atkins announced yesterday while acknowledging that the absence “could be longer” than that (link via the Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm). Kirk exited the Blue Jays’ game on May 1 early after apparently sustaining the injury while running down the line after hitting a ball that narrowly went foul. He initially stayed in but was removed innings later and hit the 10-day IL the following day.
Sportsnet’s Ben Wagner reported earlier in the week that Kirk could miss at least six weeks, but the team has publicly put forth a slightly more optimistic timeline. Whether Kirk is sidelined until late May or mid-to-late June, it’s another tough loss for a Jays club that, like so many other teams around the league, has been hit hard by injuries in 2021. Kirk went 0-for-13 to start the season, but his bat has taken off in the 33 plate appearances since. He also impressed down the stretch with a big late showing in 2020 and is currently carrying a stout .281/.352/.516 batting line with four homers and three doubles through his first 71 MLB plate appearances.
With the 22-year-old Kirk sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Jays will entrust catching duties to Danny Jansen and the recently promoted Reese McGuire. Jansen, who turned 26 last month, has been the Blue Jays’ primary backstop for the past couple seasons but has seen his bat decline since a promising rookie showing in 2018. After batting .247/.347/.432 in 95 plate appearances as a rookie, he’s managed only a .188/.275/.336 line through 597 trips to the plate. McGuire hit well in 2018 but went just 3-for-41 last season.
In addition to Kirk, the Jays are without George Springer (quad strain), David Phelps (lat strain), Julian Merryweather (oblique strain) and Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery). They’ve also already had weeks-long absences for Hyun Jin Ryu (glute strain) and Teoscar Hernandez (Covid-19), although both are now back with the club.