Blue Jays place Brandon Belt on injured list ahead of Tuesday's game against Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies
Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

In a move that many likely saw coming from a mile away, the Toronto Blue Jays have formally announced that first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Belt has been placed on the 10-day injured list with lumbar spine muscle spasms.

Belt, 35, has missed multiple games over the past week-plus thanks to both a stomach bug and back issues that he's been dealing with on and off all year long. He did get into last night's contest against the Rangers but left early after getting just two at-bats.

The Jays also announced that outfielder Nathan Lukes has been recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Belt on the active roster. The 29-year-old outfielder has been shuffled back and forth between the major and minor leagues all year but has filled his expected roles nicely, regardless of what level it's been at.

In Belt, the Blue Jays are losing one of their top offensive contributors for the next week or so. After enduring a slow start to kick off the 2023 regular season, the 13-year veteran has turned himself into one of the most consistent on-base threats on the roster. In 97 games, he has 16 home runs with 38 RBI, an .839 OPS and an OPS+ of 131. Fortunately, the Jays have multiple first-base capable options on their active roster in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Spencer Horwitz and even Davis Schneider to help fill the void.

Lukes, who has spent a ton of time on the big league roster this year with only 28 games played to show for it, will get yet another shot at a backup outfielder role on the Blue Jays. A speedy runner who plays above-average defense at all three spots on the grass, Lukes has carved up Triple-A pitching this year and certainly deserves a spot in the big leagues. In 44 games for the Buffalo Bisons, he has 15 doubles and five home runs with 30 RBI, a .366 batting average and .970 OPS while lining up at all three outfield positions. Don't expect him to start multiple times a week on the Jays, but look for him to be an oft-used pinch runner and defensive replacement.