Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays will be sidelined for at least three weeks with a strained oblique muscle. The injury occurred in his last at-bat during Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“In his last at-bat he felt a sharp pain in his side, which for the first time for any young player is a frightening feeling, and fortunately it is just a Grade 1 and it’s something we’ll be able to manage,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said.
In order for the Blue Jays to retain team control of Guerrero for another year, they would need to keep him in the minors for at least 15 days to start the season. The Blue Jay’s have received a lot of criticism over keeping Guerrero in the minors. So much that the MLB Players Association was reportedly monitoring Guerrero’s situation with the team closely.
The injury gives the Blue Jays a chance to start Guerrero in the Minors with less resistance from fans, all but guaranteeing the team an extra year of control of Guerrero.
So far this Spring Training the 19-year-old Guerrero is hitting .211 with zero longballs and only one RBI in 19 at-bats. Guerrero’s main focus this Spring Training has been with his conditioning.
If Guerrero is out for the entire three weeks that is expected, he would miss the rest of Spring Training as well as Opening Day.
Guerrero is the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
Across four Minor League levels, last season Guerrero slashed .381/.437/.636 including 20 homers and 78 RBIs.