Injuries limited Steve Pearce for the second straight season, as his recovery from elbow surgery impacted his workload during spring training, before calf, knee, and an eventual season-ending back injury all chipped away at his availability and effectiveness. Of the 95 games he played last season, 85 came in left field, which is the most likely path to a regular role for Pearce in 2018 as he plays out the final season of a two-year deal with the Jays. Turning 35 in April, the right-handed hitting Pearce has 20-plus homer pop if he's able to rack up enough playing time, but he's never reached 400 plate appearances as a big-league player. In addition to injury concerns, Pearce's career output against lefties (.837 OPS) still exceeds his output against righties (.735 OPS) despite near-even splits last season, leaving him vulnerable to getting bumped from the lineup against tough right-handed pitching if the roster constructed around him allows the Jays to effectively mix and match.
Pearce (back) is not in the lineup for Monday's game against the Red Sox. Pearce will be withheld from the starting lineup for a 16th straight game as he continues to deal with a back injury. It's unclear whether he'll return to action before the end of the regular season. Teoscar Hernandez will continue to man left field in Pearce's absence.
Pearce (back) is out of the lineup Sunday against the Yankees. For the 15th straight game, Pearce will be withheld from Toronto's lineup. He hasn't appeared in any capacity in that stretch, which has given Teoscar Hernandez the opportunity to be a regular in the Blue Jays' outfield. Hernandez will hit leadoff and start in left field again Sunday.
Pearce (back) is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Yankees. Pearce hasn't played since Sept. 8, and he'll open on the bench for a 14th straight contest as he continues to deal with a back injury. The Blue Jays haven't provided much information about his status, so it's still unclear when he'll return, if at all. In the meantime, Teoscar Hernandez will continue to start in left field.
Pearce (back) is out of the lineup for Friday's game versus the Yankees. Teoscar Hernandez will hit leadoff and start in left field yet again as Pearce remains out with a back injury. Having missed 13 consecutive games, the Blue Jays haven't given any indication as to when Pearce will be set to return.
Pearce (back) is not in the lineup against Kansas City on Thursday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. This marks the 12th straight game that Pearce will remain out of the starting nine, dating back to Sept. 9. The outfielder hasn't been able to come in and see action off the bench, which gives a clear indication that he isn't ready for action just yet. He should be considered day-to-day moving forward, while Teoscar Hernandez draws a start in left for Thursday's affair.