Teoscar Hernández receives Blue Jays tribute in return to Rogers Centre
By Thomas Hall6 months ago
A familiar face with a perfect smile returned to Rogers Centre on Friday ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays-Seattle Mariners weekend series: Teoscar Hernández.
Hernández, acquired over the off-season in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and prospect Adam Macko, is making his first trip back to Toronto since being included in a blockbuster trade with the Mariners last November. Now, over five months later, the 30-year-old returns as part of the opposition to face off against his former team.
But first came a special pre-game tribute, as the Blue Jays honoured Hernández with a brief video message, highlighting some of his best moments with the franchise.
The 2021 All-Star also received a standing ovation before his first at-bat of the game, with starter Alek Manoah stepping off the rubber so fans could share their appreciation of the former Blue Jay. It also helped that home plate umpire Tripp Gibson made sure not to start the pitch clock until the applause quieted.
Then, after Hernández stepped into the batter’s box, Manoah fittingly struck out his old teammate on just four pitches, enticing him to chase outside at a slider for strike three.
Hernández reunited with many former teammates pre-game, giving out several daps and hugs during on-field workouts. And, of course, it was a special moment when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came to say hello.
The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner – acquired by Toronto in a trade that sent left-hander Francisco Liriano to the Houston Astros in July 2017 – made his Blue Jays debut just a few months later. With it marked the beginning of his five-plus-season career north of the border.
Hernández logged 605 games with the Blue Jays, hitting .263/.320/.503 with a 121 wRC+ across 2,418 plate appearances. His 129 home runs rank 11th-most in franchise history.
While it came in a losing effort, the right-handed slugger enjoyed a two-homer performance in Game 2 of the 2022 Wild Card series against Seattle, who eliminated Toronto in two games.
The Dominican native, a free agent after this season, has six home runs, 15 RBIs, a 95 wRC+ and a .224/.260/.439 slash line over 25 games in 2023, worth 0.3 fWAR. He has struck out 31 times and walked only twice.
In the field, Hernández has compiled 192.2 innings in right field for the Mariners, registering +4 DRS and +1 OAA – both of which are career-highs.
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