The Blue Jays are set to get some of their regulars back in the lineup sooner than later, likely starting with Troy Tulowitzki, who is expected back next week.
The Blue Jays have been playing the best baseball of their young season over the last 14 games, and it’s been largely without some of their most talented players. As the likes of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin and more toil on the DL, we’ve watched guys like Darwin Barney, Ryan Goins and others thrive in their starting opportunities.
In fact, it’s gotten so ridiculous for the Blue Jays that over half of their payroll is sitting on the disabled list at the moment, making it all that much more impressive that they’ve won 9 of their last 14.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they’re going to start getting some of their reinforcements back sooner than later, and it appears Tulowitzki will be the first player on offence to return to the lineup, assuming there are no set-backs.
The 32 year old shortstop has been on the field taking grounds for much of the week, and is reportedly heading out on a short rehab assignment, with the goal of re-joining the club by the middle of next week, which is great news.
Kendrys Morales‘ injury doesn’t appear to be as bad as the club initially feared. He had to leave a game earlier in the week with hamstring tightness and it was feared he may join the All-Star cast on the DL, however it appears he may avoid a stint after all.
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Morales told Arash Madani prior to Friday’s game that he was running at 80-85% of his capacity (insert jokes here), and that he wasn’t allowed to push it any further than that.
It’s presumed that he’ll continue to test his legs in the next few days, and continue to receive treatment to try to stave off the injury.
It’s apparently been discussed that he could return to the lineup as early as Saturday’s game, depending on how the pre-game warmup goes for the 33 year old slugger. Hopefully the Blue Jays will proceed with caution, especially considering how well the team has performed in his absence.
That said, he was supposedly available to pinch-hit on Friday night as well, so his return is coming sooner than later, which will be a big boost for the depleted lineup.
*UPDATE- Morales is in the starting lineup for Saturday afternoon’s game.
J.A. Happ has made some progress as well, as the Blue Jays finally provided a concrete update on their talented left-hander. Happ threw the ball from 120 feet on Friday and hopes to stick throwing from the bump next week.
If all goes according to plan without any setbacks this time, the Blue Jays remain hopeful that their most recent 20 games winner can re-join the rotation in approximately 3 weeks time. That said, Happ initially didn’t even want to go on the DL when he was initially hurt, and he’s been out a month so far, so these things can be difficult to gauge at times.
Lastly (for now), Russell Martin was asked how he’s progressing, and he stated that he’ll be back in the lineup as soon as his DL stint is over. That said, he’ll be the first to admit that his injury isn’t something he can just “push through the pain”, as it’s a nerve issue he’s never dealt with before. In a Richard Griffin column with the Toronto Star, Martin explained what he’s dealing with:
"“It’s strange, a little bit scary, but hopefully in a few days it’s past me and (the strength) comes back. I’ve never had to deal with nerve issues before. It’s strictly like a feeling of lack of strength in the shoulder. It’s weird. I wish it was pain and I could just battle through it, but that’s not the case.”"
Hopefully in his case a 10 day stint on the DL is enough rest to get him back in the lineup, as he was starting to heat up with the bat, and continued to handle the pitching staff as well as he always does.
For as frustrating as the Blue Jays’ injury-riddled season has been, you can’t help but feel a little better about the club now that they’ve turned things around, especially when it’s happened without most of their A-list stars. With over 120 games left and the reinforcements starting to join the suddenly hot team, the Blue Jays are suddenly fun to watch again…. thank God.