Blue Jays: When does Lourdes Gurriel Jr. return to the Rogers Centre?
It's that time of year when Blue Jays fans start looking for important games and series on the schedule for the upcoming season, and the return of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. should be circled in big, red marker.
After being shipped off with Gabriel Moreno to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Daulton Varsho in arguably the Jays' biggest offseason trade, fan-favorite Gurriel Jr. will return to Toronto right after the All-Star break.
Over the weekend of July 14-16, Jays fans will be able to catch a glimpse of Gurriel patrolling his familiar left field spot again, albeit in Diamondbacks colors.
After spending much of last season battling a wrist injury that sapped his power, Gurriel got off to a hot start this year, blasting a home run in his Diamondbacks Spring Training debut.
Despite the wrist problems, Gurriel was still a valuable piece of the Blue Jays' offense for most of the season until a hamstring injury shut him down in early September. The fun-loving left fielder showed off his hit tool, slashing a solid .291/.343/.400 through 121 games.
After signing with the Jays as an amateur free agent in 2016, and making his debut in 2018, Blue Jays fans watched Gurriel grow and flourish with the only team he's known until this season. In 468 regular season games in Toronto, he slashed .285/.329/.468 with 68 home runs.
He became known for his clutch hits and "piña power" during the team's attempt to make the postseason in 2021, especially with the bases loaded, hitting four grand slams in 13 opportunities.
Fans who want to see Gabriel Moreno back in the Rogers Centre in July will also be in luck. The young prospect projects to make the Diamondbacks team as the backup catcher and should be with the club when it travels north of the border.
Hopefully, he'll get a start in Toronto, or at least an at-bat, so Jays fans can properly welcome both him and Gurriel back to the Rogers Centre and show their appreciation to the two players for their time with the team.