News and Notes: Kevin Gausman threw a side session on Tuesday, Joey Votto to appear in minor league games on Wednesday, and more!

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
We’re just over two weeks away from the start of the season!
Will Kevin Gausman be ready for Opening Day? What’s the latest with Joey Votto? Well, that’s what we’ll look to answer in the latest News and Notes.

Latest on Kevin Gausman

According to Sporstnet’s Arden Zwelling, Kevin Gausman will throw a side session on Tuesday.
As you probably know, Gausman hasn’t pitched in a Grapefruit League game this season due to “shoulder fatigue”. With the season starting in 16 days, it seems somewhat unlikely that Gausman will be ready for opening day, but he has stated he will be ready so who knows.
Last season, Gausman posted a 3.16 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in 185 innings pitched, along with a 31.1 K% and a 7.2 BB%. He was nominated for the American Cy Young award, the fourth consecutive season a Blue Jays pitcher was at least nominated.
Zwelling also mentioned Alek Manoah in the Tweet, who is also dealing with a shoulder injury. While Gausman pitching on Opening Day is possible, Manoah has no timeline to return to the mound, meaning that he more than likely won’t be ready for Opening Day.

Latest on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

On Sunday, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was scratched from the lineup due to a left knee bruise. It seems to be a precautionary measure, but there was some good news on Tuesday as he did a full workout that day, according to MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson.
This Spring Training, Guerrero Jr. is slashing .368/.400/.579 with a homer in 20 plate appearances, on top of a 5 BB% and a 25 K%. It was a down year for the first baseman in 2023, as he slashed .264/.345/.444 with 26 home runs in 682 plate appearances for a 118 wRC+.
It wasn’t a bad season for most players, but Guerrero Jr. had a 166 wRC+ in 2021 and a 133 wRC+ in 2022, so he’ll definitely be looking to rebound this season.

Latest on Yariel Rodríguez

The big addition to the Blue Jays roster this past off-season was Yariel Rodríguez, who signed a five-year, $32 million deal. However, he has yet to throw a pitch in Grapefruit League action. Well that may change soon according to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, who reported that Rodríguez took a live bullpen on Tuesday.
A Guerrero Jr. double aside, Rodríguez has a ton of potential as he most recently had a 1.15 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched in Nippon Baseball League in Japan during the 2022 season. Rodríguez, who turned 27 on Sunday, most recently pitched for Cuba at the World Baseball Classic where he had a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched, the same ERA and innings pitched as Yoshinobu Yamamoto had.
The Jays are able to option him without his permission for the 2024 season, so expect him to be up and down with the team as he stretches out as a starter.

Latest on Joey Votto

According to MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson, Joey Votto could appear in minor league games on Wednesday and could play in Grapefruit League action by the end of the week.
It’s hard not to love this signing, even if Votto is at the tail end of his career. The 40-year-old dealt with injuries during the 2023 season and slashed just .202/.314/.433 with 14 homers in 242 plate appearances for a 98 wRC+, similar stats to the season before.
However, Votto had a fantastic 2021 season after a rough 2019 and a slightly above average 2020 season, as he slashed .266/.375/.563 with 36 homers with the Cincinnati Reds in 2021. There’s still pop in the bat and Votto will surely help in the club house.
With that being said, it’s a dog fight for the backup first baseman role/designated hitter. The Blue Jays already signed Daniel Vogelbach to a minor league deal, and the 31-year-old left-handed first baseman is slashing .211/.318/.579 with two home runs in 22 plate appearances this Spring Training.
Moreover, 26-year-old first baseman Spencer Horwitz is on the 40-man roster, and he’s done all he can do at the Triple-A level. Last season, he slashed .337/.450/.495 with 10 homers in 484 plate appearances, along with a 16.1 BB% and a 14.9 K%. However, he’s had a rough Spring Training, slashing .083/.214/.083 in 28 plate appearances.
It’ll be interesting to see who the Jays go with, but Votto seems to be open to playing with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, at least for the first bit of the season.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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