Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays will have to wait at least another year to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. back in the cage at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Home Run Derby.
On Tuesday, the Jays’ best power hitter announced that he would once again sit out the annual spectacle on July 18, as he tends to a nagging wrist injury that has limited his action over the past week.
“I think it is something that I’m going to have to watch for the rest of my career, so I just want to make sure that I keep doing all my exercises and everything that I have to do to keep it healthy,” Guerrero said of the derby. “I told them that I wasn’t going to be able to do it because I preferred to rest and be ready for the second half to help the team win games.”
The 23-year-old has battled a nagging wrist injury for the better part of the 2022 season, dating back to soreness in May that forced him out of action before re-aggravating it while swinging at a wild pitch this past week.
“My wrist is fine right now but I’ve got to be careful, because there are too many swings in a home run derby,” Guerrero added. “I don’t want to take a chance that my wrist gets hurt again and it gets bad and I won’t be able to help the team win, which is what we’re trying to do here. I don’t want to risk it.”
He currently leads all American League first basemen with nearly 1.7 million total votes (which is significantly more than the next best man, Seattle’s Ty France), so he will be attending and participating in the All-Star Game, but after being contacted about the derby, Guerrero felt that it would be in his best interest to stand pat for the second-straight year and take in the spectacle from the sidelines.
“I felt it a little bit for a while, but it wasn’t anything big,” Guerrero added of his lingering wrist problem. “I’ve been coming here to the training room, doing all I can for my wrist to get better and right now, it feels good.”
Back in 2019, he hammered 91 home runs at the derby, finishing second as a rookie slugger. Last season, he did not participate in what he called workload management. Again, he participated in the All-Star Game – to which he earned the MVP award – but sat out of the skills competition.
Having just blasted a bomb against the Red Sox on Monday, Guerrero brought his June totals up to nine homers on the month, as well as 21 RBIs and 14 walks. He currently has 18 home runs and 45 RBIs on the season – helped mightily by his strong month of June. With three games remaining, he could very well eclipse some of his record numbers for single-month production over the course of his career before week’s end.
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Jays Sign Veteran Sergio Romo
On Monday, word got out that the Jays had been targeting veteran reliever Sergio Romo in order to help boost a struggling and rather injured relief pitching corps.
That news became official on Tuesday, as the 39-year-old – who had just been designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners – was picked up by Toronto in a move that will surely benefit a club that is currently nursing various bullpen arms back to health.
Seattle will be paying the veteran the remainder of his contract ($2 million) with Toronto only taking on the prorated minimum to which he remains on the club’s active roster.
Having started his career with three World Series championships, Romo has had some difficulty finding a permanent home over the past few years. He owns just 11 strikeouts and an inflated 8.16 ERA through 17 games with the Mariners this season. That, contrasted with his career 42-35 record, his 3.18 ERA, 785 strikeouts and 137 saves in 15 seasons definitely appears to be an outlier.
Toronto is currently dealing with significant injury trouble in terms of bullpen arms. In June alone, the Jays have seen Andrew Vasquez, Trevor Richards, Yimi Garcia, Nate Pearson and Julian Merryweather all go down with various injuries, so bringing in the veteran right-hander is almost a win-win situation for the club. Should he regain his pre-2022 form, it will be helpful for the young staff, as well as Romo’s career. While if his issues persist, the team can easily severe ties at no cost.
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