NEW YORK — Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. received some good news Thursday when an MRI of his right knee showed inflammation and no structural damage.
Guerrero was retained in the starting lineup for a second straight night as the Blue Jays completed a three-game series with the Yankees. He is day to day and could be available on the bench Thursday evening. Toronto opens a three-game series in Tampa, Fla., against the Rays in the playoffs on Friday.
“I think the fact that the MRI gave him some peace of mind was a good thing,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “He knows his body very well. He plays a lot. So he knows when he feels good and when he feels, eh.
Guerrero was a late scratch Wednesday and underwent an MRI during Toronto’s 6-1 win.
“I was worried, but I found out the results and it was a little relief,” Guerrero said through translator Hector LeBron. “Of course I’m sad I can’t be in the lineup, I’m trying to do my best. I guess I need to rest or something, but I’ll be fine.
The slugger was expected to finish third as the designated hitter for the Blue Jays, who are in a tight playoff race. Toronto was one game ahead of Texas and Seattle for the second of three American League wild card spots.
“It’s very difficult for me not to be in the lineup, but thank God we’re in a good position right now,” Guerrero said. “We maintain a playoff spot. So I prefer to take care of it now and not risk losing the rest of the season or the playoffs.
About two hours before Wednesday’s game, Schneider said Guerrero’s sore right knee had been “barking” for a few days and he was “struggling.”
Guerrero went 0 for 5 Tuesday night in a 7-1 win and was relieved for a pinch runner in the ninth inning after committing an error. He said he had suffered from knee pain all season, but woke up with inflammation on Tuesday.
A three-time All-Star, Guerrero hit .264 with 24 home runs, 90 RBIs and a .781 OPS in 147 games. He played 115 games at first base after appearing on the field 128 times last season when he hit .274 with 32 homers and 97 RBIs and an .891 OPS in 160 games.
He became the first Toronto player to win the Home Run Derby during the All-Star festivities in Seattle, making him and his father the first father-son duo to both win the event.
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