Blue Jays activate Kiermaier, Richards from IL, option Lukes, Jackson to triple-A
Photo credit:Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Thomas Hall3 months ago
Reinforcements have finally arrived as the Toronto Blue Jays prepare for this weekend’s series at Great American Ball Park against the Cincinnati Reds.
Ahead of Friday’s opener, the team activated centre-fielder Kevin Kiermaier and reliever Trevor Richards from the 10-day and 15-day IL, respectively. Nathan Lukes and Jay Jackson were optioned to triple-A Buffalo to make room on the 26-man roster.
Kiermaier suffered a right elbow laceration while making a leaping catch up against the centre-field wall at Fenway Park on Aug. 6, which required eight stitches. That saw Daulton Varsho assume the everyday duties in centre in his absence.
The 33-year-old is hitting .274/.336/.415 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and a 108 wRC+ across 95 games this season, worth 1.8 fWAR. He signed a one-year deal worth $9 million with Toronto last off-season.
Richards missed the last two weeks due to neck inflammation and made a rehab appearance at triple-A on Wednesday, tossing a scoreless frame while issuing a walk and striking out one.
The 30-year-old righty has enjoyed a breakout performance in 2023, posting career-bests in ERA (2.98), xERA (2.99), FIP (3.74) and K-BB rate difference (26.7%) over 54.1 innings in 39 outings, worth 0.6 fWAR.
Matt Chapman, who missed three games after pinching his right middle finger on a weight rack, will return to his familiar spot at the hot corner and bat fifth for the Blue Jays on Friday.
Bo Bichette won’t be active for the series opener, but if things progress as planned, the All-Star shortstop will return from a right knee injury on Saturday. The 25-year-old made two rehab starts in Buffalo earlier this week, going 4-for-5 with one home run, three RBIs and a run scored – all four hits went to the opposite field.
The Blue Jays begin play on Friday just 0.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final AL wild-card seed.
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