The Toronto Blue Jays have struggled lately, losing seven of their last 10 games. To make matters worse, injuries are quickly piling up for the beleaguered ballclub.
Toronto will likely be missing a significant part of its lineup when it opens up a three-game series against the New York Yankees starting Monday.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie is out indefinitely with a fractured index finger on his right hand. The 24-year-old suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch during the Blue Jays’ 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Right-fielder Jose Bautista is also being listed as day-to-day after he injured his left leg during the same game. The team is still waiting for MRI results, but the hope is that Bautista will ready to play within the next few days and won’t require a trip to the disabled list.
Designated hitter Adam Lind and shortstop Jose Reyes are also dealing with minor injuries. Lind has had problems running after fouling a ball off his foot a few days ago. Reyes similarly fouled a ball off his shin and is experiencing discomfort. He didn’t start Sunday’s game.
While Reyes and Lind should be playing on Monday despite their ailments, it’ll be interesting to see how the team decides to deal with the injury to Bautista and the long-term loss of Lawrie.
The Blue Jays don’t have a fourth outfielder on their bench and will have to bring up a player from Triple-A Buffalo if Bautista is unavailable for a few days. Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar would be the favorites for a call-up. Both of them have already spent time with the Blue Jays earlier this season.
During their previous stints in Toronto, Gose hit .233/.347/.291 in 86 at-bats, while Pillar hit .243/.237/.324 in 37 at-bats.
The Blue Jays have very little minor league depth when it comes to third base, so Juan Francisco should figure to see the lion’s share of the time at the position until Lawrie returns.
While Francisco has hit just .239/.318/.541 in 53 games, he does have 12 home runs and 30 RBI during that span.
Offensive numbers aside, Francisco’s shoddy defense—he already has seven errors in 32 games started at the hot corner—doesn’t make him an ideal option to play third base regularly.
While infielders Steve Tolleson and Munenori Kawasaki have mostly split time at second base this season, it’s possible that one of them will be called on to play third base if Francisco struggles.
With the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles both just 1.5 games behind Toronto in the AL East, it’ll be important for the Blue Jays to play well in order to remain atop the division.
This upcoming stretch will determine just how deep the Blue Jays are.
*All stats are from MLB.com