As the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2023 playoff hopes hang in the balance, the team will have to stay afloat without its most valuable player for at least the next week or two. Just days after returning from a knee sprain, star shortstop Bo Bichette has been placed back on the IL with a quad injury he suffered in Sunday’s game against the Guardians. Infielder Mason McCoy, who’s yet to make his MLB debut, has been called up to the Major League roster from Triple-A in a corresponding move.
ROSTER MOVES:— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 29, 2023
SS Bo Bichette (right quad strain) placed on 10-day IL, retroactive to August 28
INF Mason McCoy selected to the Major League roster and will be active tonight pic.twitter.com/Dhl6GqEllM
Bichette exited Sunday’s game following an at-bat in the bottom of the sixth inning with what the team referred to as quad tightness. Manager John Schneider told reporters after the game that the 25-year-old had been battling the discomfort for a few days, though he stopped short of saying that an IL stint would be needed. On Tuesday Schneider described the strain as “mild,” and made it seem as though Bichette might be back in a matter of days — but in the meantime, the Jays needed the roster spot.
Bo Bichette’s quad strain described as “mild” by John Schneider. But he’s down now & will need 10 days, so Jays put him on IL— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 29, 2023
For now, Schneider says Jays will cover SS “creatively” w/ likes of Clement, Espinal & McCoy. “It’s gonna get weird. It’s gonna get dirty, ugly, crazy.”
Bichette was just getting back into the swing of things following his previous injury, tendonitis in his knee that caused him to miss nearly three weeks. The All-Star returned to the Jays’ lineup on August 19 and had played in eight games since. He’s been the most consistent part of what’s been an underwhelming Toronto offense so far this season, slashing .314/.344/.488 with 18 homers, 26 doubles and three steals, and his absence comes at a particularly brutal time for his team.
The Blue Jays enter Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals just 5-5 in their last 10 and now 2.5 games back of the Houston Astros for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. The options at shortstop behind Bichette are less than inspiring: Toronto traded for Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong at the deadline, but he’s since been released after struggling at the plate in his brief time north of the border. Santiago Espinal is the most natural defensive fit, but he’s hitting just .213/.286/.290. Rookie Ernie Clement and Davis Schneider have hit well in their brief MLB stints, but they’re unproven in the hothouse of a pennant race and would be stretched defensively at the 6 — as would veteran Whit Merrifield, who’s been manning second base.