Some unfortunate news was delivered to the Toronto Blue Jays by their team doctors today. Troy Tulowitzki will be unavailable for game action for at least two, possibly three, weeks. This is just to allow the crack in his scapula to heal. Due to the location and the mildness of the injury, there is no other treatment plan but rest. However, Kevin Pillar will be picking up the tab for Tulo’s massage therapy.
All joking aside, this is potentially a big blow to the Jays. After losing to the New York Yankees this afternoon, they hold a solid, but not airtight 3.5-game lead on the Bombers. Having all their starters on the field to scratch and claw their way to a hopeful AL East title would be preferable. Aside from star power name recognition, the loss of Tulo for two-to-three weeks might not be all that bad for the Jays. In 39 games with Toronto, Tulo has slashed .232/.314/.368 with five home runs and 17 RBIs. His OPS is third worst amongst Jays regulars, just above Pillar and Ryan Goins. His 2.3 UZR (per FanGraphs), is just okay. So maybe they’re not losing that much. However will they replace him?
Cliff Pennington is sure to see some time at short. In 2013, when he logged 429.1 innings at short, he had a UZR of 6.1. There’s no need to bother with his offensive stats, as he’s a classic all-glove, no-stick shortstop/utility guy. He made a couple of sick, clutch plays at second base on Saturday to help keep the Yankees at bay. Here’s the one that preserved the tie at the time.
The Jays wanted a bit more depth, so they acquired Darwin Barney from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Again, Barney is relied on more for his defense than his bat. His career slash line is .245/.293/.336, so it’s safe to say he’s not jump starting any big innings on the regular. For his career, Barney has a 38.0 UZR as a second baseman and 4.5 at short. It’s possible that the plan is to put Barney at second and move Pennington over to short. By the numbers, it appears this might not be as damaging of a loss due to injury as initially thought.