Well, who didn’t see that coming?
The 30-year-old shortstop felt his left hamstring tighten while running to first base following his first at-bat. He was removed from the game immediately afterward.
Hamstring injuries are nothing new for Reyes, as he’s dealt with them since 2003 and has been on the disabled list several times over his career because of them.
This latest injury actually dates a week back to spring training when Reyes was listed as day to day because of what was labeled then as a “mild hamstring strain.”
The issue was thought to be resolved, as the shortstop was cleared to play in the team’s final two exhibition games in Montreal. But this same injury was reaggravated in the first game of the season, robbing the team of its leadoff hitter in what would turn out to be a 9-2 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.
There’s no doubt that losing Reyes is a huge blow to the team. The switch-hitter hit .296/.353/.427 with 15 stolen bases and 57 runs scored in just 93 games last year after suffering an ankle injury which caused him to miss three months. Ironically, that injury also came early on in the season after the Blue Jays had just played their 11th game.
With Reyes now out for the foreseeable future, Toronto will likely initially turn to utility man Maicer Izturis to fill the void at shortstop.
While he struggled last year with an offensive stat line of .236/.288/.310, it’s important to note that the 33-year-old switch-hitting Izturis is a career .269 hitter and has a .331 OBP. He also has a lot of experience at the position, playing 1,697.1 innings there throughout his career.
Diaz might also be given a shot at the role, though his .125 batting average in 24 at-bats in spring training was discouraging. The 28-year-old has had poor numbers in the minor leagues, hitting .230/.358/.297 over eight minor league seasons.
Finally, fan favorite Munenori Kawasaki might also be in the mix for the role. The 32-year-old is currently in Triple-A Buffalo after signing a minor league deal with Toronto last offseason and hitting .318/.400/.364 in 22 spring training at-bats.
Reyes’ injury should also reshape the team’s batting order, considering that whoever replaces him on the field is unlikely to bat at the leadoff position.
Brett Lawrie could likely be moved up to the top of the lineup because of his speed. Melky Cabrera is also another candidate for the job because of his ability to make contact and get on base.
Regardless of who is chosen, Reyes is simply an irreplaceable player both offensively and defensively. His loss will be profoundly felt by the team.
All player stats are from Baseball-Reference.com.
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