4:04pm: The Blue Jays have officially announced that Jansen was placed on the 10-day IL with a finger fracture, calling up Heineman in the corresponding move.
9:31am: Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen had to make an early exit from yesterday’s game due to what was eventually revealed as a fracture in the knuckle of his right middle finger. During an at-bat in the sixth inning, Rockies left fielder Nolan Jones fouled a ball into Jansen’s exposed right hand, leaving the catcher in obvious discomfort. Jansen remained behind the plate for the rest of the inning, but Alejandro Kirk pinch-hit for Jansen in the top of the seventh.
Tyler Heineman has already been called up from Triple-A as at least a precautionary measure while Jansen undergoes further imaging and tests, as manager John Schneider told Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and other reporters. Given the nature of the injury, it’s hard to imagine that Jansen will be able to avoid the 10-day injured list, leaving the Jays without their starting catcher for at least some of their playoff push. Kirk will take most of the starts in the interim, with Heineman perhaps getting only sparing backup duty.
Jansen has hit .228/.312/.474 with 17 homers over 301 plate appearances this season, translating to a 115 wRC+ that ranks third among all qualified Blue Jays hitters. This adds to Jansen’s resume as one of the more quietly productive catchers in baseball, though due to injuries and splitting time with Kirk and other Toronto backstops, he has only amassed 754 PA since the start of the 2021 season. This season, Jansen missed a few weeks due to a groin strain, and has perhaps been fortunate to avoid a hand injury until now considering how frequently Jansen is hit by pitches (10) or the natural risk and wear-and-tear of catching duty.
His injury resume includes another finger fracture last season, which kept Jansen for a little over a month. That particular fracture was near Jansen’s left pinky finger, and given the wide variance and severity of finger-related problems, it is far to too soon to tell if Jansen’s current issue is anywhere as severe, or how long he might be out of action.
Consistency has been a problem all season for Toronto’s lineup, even before Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman went onto the IL earlier this week. Losing Jansen would be another significant hit, though Nicholson-Smith writes that Bichette and Chapman have at least been working out on the field, creating hope that either player might be back at or shortly after the 10-day minimum absence.