Blue Jays provide positive injury update on infielder Santiago Espinal
By Edward Eng
In Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal was forced to leave the game in the top of the second inning after being hit on the right wrist by a 98 mph fourseam fastball by Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, and was replaced by Cavan Biggio for the rest of the game. It certainly did not look good from the sight or sound of it at first, as it clearly caused some dire distress for Espinal.
On Sunday, the Jays received some good news as X-ray results on Espinal’s right wrist came back negative, thus avoiding any type of serious injury, and leaving it as just a right wrist contusion. He will probably undergo some further evaluation as a precaution and will be given at least a few days rest.
Espinal has been off to a slow start for the 2023 season, after his All-Star year in 2022 with the Jays. He is currently hitting only .114/.184/.384 with one home run, four RBI, and three runs scored. This is a far cry from his breakout season last year when he hit .267/.322/.692 while providing consistent run production. It may partly be due to the fact that he has been getting inconsistent playing time from sharing the second base position with Biggio and Whit Merrifield, with the rare spot start at third base or shortstop. His defensive prowess remains elite; however, his offensive production has been drastically affected.
His current minor injury may be a slight blessing in disguise, as it can give some time off for Espinal to gather his thoughts and recuperate, while refocusing on adjusting and fine tuning his mechanics to regain his hitting stroke and production consistency from last year. In the meantime, the Jays will get a chance to further evaluate the suitability of either Biggio or Merrifield at second base.
Should Espinal require a trip to the injured list (which still seems to be a possibility), the Blue Jays could turn to one of Otto Lopez or Addison Barger, but neither of them have been performing all that well in the minor leagues. Another possibility is veteran middle infielder José Iglesias, who just recently opted out of his minor league contract with the Marlins. Iglesias would be a temporary stopgap, but could stick around on the team if Biggio continues to struggle at the plate.