NEW YORK – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was left out of the starting lineup late for Wednesday’s game against the Yankees because of right knee soreness, the Blue Jays announced about 40 minutes before first pitch.
Guerrero started the first game of the series at DH on Tuesday, which was odd given the off day Toronto had on Monday, but it quickly became clear he wasn’t running at 100%. In the ninth inning of a 7-1 win at Yankee Stadium, Guerrero looked uncomfortable as he ran to first base. He was then removed for a pinch-runner.
Instead of playing a game on Wednesday, the Toronto won 6:1 Guerrero underwent an MRI scan of his knee so the Blue Jays would have a clearer idea of what was going on. Manager John Schneider didn’t have those results after the win, but the club hopes to have them late Wednesday night or early Thursday before the final game of the series in the Bronx.
“He fights. His knee is giving him a bit of trouble,” said Schneider before the move was announced. “It has nothing to do with the patella (tendon) or anything, he’s just feeling the season go by.”
Guerrero hit an outstanding home run, scoring in three straight games, but on Tuesday he went 0-for-5 and had some uncharacteristic hits. Since your right knee is the leg you lean on when swinging, this discomfort can’t help.
“It wasn’t too long ago that he felt the effects of the season,” said Schneider. “But I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”
There was no particular play that aggravated the injury, and Schneider said there was nothing structurally wrong with Guerrero’s knee, but the timing couldn’t be worse as the Blue Jays are in a tight race for an AL Wild Card spot . American League. Guerrero has also generally thundered at Yankee Stadium, with 12 home runs and a .934 OPS in 35 career games.
In Guerrero’s place, Cavan Biggio returned to first base and Spencer Horwitz remained at DH.
Brandon Belt is recovering from a back injury with the Blue Jays, and the veteran has recently begun going through routine drills in hopes of returning sometime before the end of the regular season.