Blue Jays to promote Lourdes Gurriel, demote Gift Ngoepe

SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: Lourdes Gurriel
SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: Lourdes Gurriel /

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly going to promote Lourdes Gurriel Jr in favour of the light hitting Gift Ngoepe.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is off to a great start in Double-A New Hampshire hitting .347/.382/.510 with 17 hits in his first 12 games of the 2018 campaign. Gurriel who only saw action in 64 games last season due to injury appears poised to make the jump to the majors.

The corresponding move will see infielder Gift Ngoepe demoted to the minors. The 28-year old is hitting .056 with only one hit in 18 at-bats thus far and was strictly on the roster for defensive purposes.

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The Blue Jays inked the Cuban native to a 7-year/$22 million dollar pact in the winter of 2016. Gurriel battled injuries in his first season in the minors seeing action in only 64 games in 2017. The 24-year old hit .229/.268/.339 with five home runs and three stolen bases between Dunedin and New Hampshire last season. Gurriel has played both shortstop and second base on the farm for the Jays.

Gurriel spent six seasons playing in the Cuban National Series prior to coming to North America. He was a career .277 hitter in 305 games in Cuba while also playing with his brother Yuli Gurriel who is currently with the Houston Astros.

The Blue Jays will also activate designated hitter Kendrys Morales ahead of tonight’s contest with the Yankees. Morales has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Jays will option reliever Tim Mayza back to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Morales.

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The Jays are off to a successful 12-6 start on the young season but keep tinkering with the roster having already added outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the minor league ranks last week. Gurriel will look to force the Jays hand to keep him on the roster much like Hernandez is doing.