Urena appears to be the favorite to begin the season as the Blue Jays' utility infielder, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. Devon Travis' latest knee woes have pushed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. into the starting second base job, opening up a spot for Urena on the bench. Journeyman Eric Sogard is also competing for that role, but since Urena is already on the 40-man roster he has a potentially decisive edge despite his lackluster .257/.311/.341 slash line in 61 career MLB games. Whoever wins it may only stick around until Vlad Guerrero Jr. joins the team, likely in mid-April.
Urena was recalled by the Blue Jays on Tuesday and is batting ninth and playing shortstop against the Rays. The 22-year-old received 49 plate appearances for the Jays earlier in the season, hitting a respectable .273/.333/.409. He has the ability to play around the infield and could see time at multiple positions down the stretch.
Urena was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Friday. Urena will shuttle back to the minors after going 7-for-26 (.269 average) across nine games of action during this stint with the Blue Jays. In a corresponding move, Lourdes Gurriel (ankle) was activated from the 10-day DL. Look for Urena to rejoin the big-league team in September.
Urena is out of the lineup Sunday against the Yankees, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. The move to the bench ends a streak of four straight starts for Urena, who went 3-for-13 with a double and a run scored over that span. Despite the heightened workload of late, Urena projects to serve as the Blue Jays' top backup at both middle-infield spots going forward until the team gets one of Yangervis Solarte (oblique), Lourdes Gurriel (ankle) or Brandon Drury (hand) back from the disabled list.
Urena was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. Urena is up to replace Brandon Drury, who was placed on the disabled list with a fractured hand. With Lourdes Gurriel also out with an ankle injury, at-bats are available in the Blue Jays' infield, though Urena is not in the starting lineup Tuesday.