On Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays easily dismantled the last-place Oakland Athletics in 12-1 fashion. The victory secured a series win for the Jays, one that was much needed and, frankly, expected against a team that is scuffling as bad as the A's are this season.
Blue Jays latest injury updates on Yimi García and Tyler Heineman
During the game, backup catcher Tyler Heineman, who is only on the active roster because Alejandro Kirk is on the injured list, had to be removed from the game after he tweaked something in his left side. This puts the Blue Jays in a sudden roster crunch behind the plate. As of right now, the plan is for the Jays to use tomorrow's off day as one of re-evaluation for the backstop.
This comes just one day after relief pitcher Yimi García was removed from the game with right knee discomfort. The right-hander has been struggling as of late and feels like a candidate to spend a short stint on the injured list to take some time to reset.
Obviously the early diagnosis on both players doesn't immediately feel like ones that are panic-inducing. What makes things a bit hairy is the aforementioned lack of depth, especially at catcher, if one or both of them needs a trip to the IL.
In Heineman, the Blue Jays have already recalled the only other catcher outside of Kirk and Danny Jansen who is on the 40-man roster. Rob Brantly, the only other backstop in the minors with major league experience, is currently injured, as is 28-year-old Stevie Berman.
That leaves Jamie Ritchie and Karl Ellison are the only two catchers on the Buffalo Bisons' roster as of right now. Ritchie, 30, is hitting .250 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (16) through the first 31 games of his Blue Jays organization tenure. He has extensive minor league experience and can even bounce around the field a bit, playing first base and the corner outfield in the recent past.
Ellison, 28, has made 24 appearances across three different minor league levels this year and is hitting .192 with no home runs and six runs driven in. Between the pair, Ritchie feels like the likeliest option to be selected, but then that will only further the roster crunch down in Triple-A.
Replacing García would likely be an easier task for the Blue Jays, as there are a whole slew of arms on the 40-man that could be recalled in his place. Jay Jackson, Thomas Hatch or even Hagen Danner all feel like possible candidates to get a look in the big leagues. The former two have both earned some looks in the bigs this season and performed well, while the latter is an intriguing prospect in the system who throws some serious heat. Odds are one of them gets the call if García needs some time on the shelf.