Kirk last played in a game a week ago against the Atlanta Brave and had to be removed mid-contest with what turned out to be an injury to his left hip flexor. Just two days ago, Ross Atkins released to fans and media that Kirk would miss at least four weeks, however, this injury will now keep him out until at least July.
Kirk had been playing back-up to Danny Jansen to start the season but looked like he was moving to more playing time after he had put together a four-game hitting streak which included his first-ever multi-home run game on Friday, April 30. At the time of being placed on the injured list, Kirk had a slash line of .225/.326/.475 with three home runs and eight RBI over 46 plate appearances.
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With Kirk being placed on the 60-day injured list, a spot became free on the 40-man roster, and A.J. Cole was added and recalled to the active roster. In conjunction with the Cole being added, right-handed relief pitcher Ty Tice was optioned to Buffalo (AAA).
Tice pitched in the Houston series opener last night where he got hit around fairly hard but was the beneficiary of some strong defense. In total, Tice allowed five hits over 1.1 innings and surrendered 2 earn runs, which could have been worse had Lourdes Gurriel Jr. not come up with a phenomenal throw to home plate to eliminate a run by Myles Straw.
Tice made his MLB debut this season and has pitched in four games for a total of 7.0 innings posting a 5.14 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. While he did struggle in last night’s performance, I believe the move is more to get a fresh arm in the bullpen rather than based on his most recent outing.
Cole returns to the Blue Jays after signing a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training after being a mainstay in the club’s bullpen in 2020. Cole made 24 appearances last year posting a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with a 3-0 record and one save. Cole has yet to make an appearance this year, but with how things are going this year, it won’t be long until he takes the mound.
The Blue Jays are back in action Saturday night against the Houston Astros in the second game of the series with Steven Matz taking on Cristian Javier.