Lourdes Gurriel Jr

Blue Jays: Not the start Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was looking for

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 20, 2019 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 4-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 20, 2019 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 4-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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In order for the Blue Jays to be at their best they need a healthy Lourdes Gurriel Jr. That’s been a struggle in his career so far, and Friday brought another setback.

The Blue Jays had a disappointing development on Friday afternoon as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had to leave the field after experiencing some tightness in his left side. It was believed to be a cautionary measure, but the talented outfielder will be re-evaluated on Saturday morning.

It’s an unfortunate setback for the 26-year-old, as the Blue Jays are expected to count on him to hit in the middle of their batting order, as well as man one of the starting outfield positions. However, that could be in jeopardy, at least to start the season that gets underway for the Blue Jays on July 24, and it’s both unfortunate and frustrating.

Injuries happen in baseball, but it’s never a good thing when they start taking place consistently to the same player. It’s a little early to start categorizing Gurriel Jr. as if he’s “made of glass” or anything like that, but he has dealt with a rash of injuries throughout his young career and it’s a trend that needs to be reversed.

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He was in the middle of a 10-game multi-hit streak in 2018 when he sustained injuries to his knee and ankle, and nearly wiped out the rest of his season. Thankfully he was able to return at the end of his rookie year, and looked ready to take over as the starting second baseman to begin last season. That obviously didn’t work out after defensive struggles, but after a quick trip to Buffalo to get his groove back and switch positions to left field, he returned and performed well at the plate once again.

Unfortunately the injury bug found Gurriel Jr. again in August of last year and he ended up missing more than a month with a strained left quad. It was encouraging when he was able to return down the stretch and the Blue Jays hoped he could finish the year off on a high note, but then he was shut down again when he unexpectedly had to have his appendix removed. As my colleague Clayton Richer put it last September, if he didn’t have bad luck then he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

It’s discouraging to see the talented slugger start out this way before the regular season even begins, but hopefully it won’t be a serious injury. In his defence, players are being asked to ramp things up in a hurry after having to wait from mid-March until the beginning of July. Yes, most of them did their best to stay in game shape, but there’s only so much you can do on your own, and outside of a live game situation.

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Hopefully we’ll get some good news about his status and he won’t have to miss much, if any time. The Blue Jays are definitely their most dangerous with him on the lineup card, and hopefully he’ll be able to consistently stay there in 2020.

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