Gurriel went 2-for-2 with two doubles, a HBP, three runs scored and two RBI in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles. The 26-year-old is still looking for his first spring homer, but it seems only a matter of time before he goes yard -- Gurriel is slashing .360/.429/.560 through 28 plate appearances with five doubles as he gets ready for an Opening Day assignment as the Jays' starting left fielder.
Manager Charlie Montoyo said Thursday that he plans to have Gurriel bat third for the Blue Jays this season, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic reports. Gurriel initially looked in line to bat fourth or lower in the Jays' lineup, but Montoyo opted to move him up to third after Vladimir Guerrero expressed a desire to bat cleanup so he would have the benefit of seeing how pitchers attack Gurriel beforehand. Given his 4.8 percent career walk rate, Gurriel doesn't fit the profile of the typical disciplined No. 3 hitter, but the Blue Jays should be able to compensate for his free-swinging ways by surrounding him with three high on-base bats in Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Guerrero. If he can stick in a prominent lineup spot all season, Gurriel should easily surpass his 2019 totals in both RBI (50) and runs (52).
Gurriel could see occasional action at first base this season, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports. The 26-year-old will be the Jays' regular left fielder after hitting 20 home runs with an .868 OPS through 84 games last year, but depending on the makeup of the team's bench, Gurriel could also back up Travis Shaw at first base. "I could see him playing first also, to help us out for a game or two," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "We're facing a lefty or something, he could play first because he's got good hands. I already know that so that could happen." Shaw and Rowdy Tellez, the other 1B/DH on the roster, both hit left-handed, so Gurriel could become the top platoon option at 1B, potentially giving him some extra position eligibility in 2020.
Gurriel (chest) was transferred to the 60-day injured list Wednesday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. This move is simply procedural, as Gurriel has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix. The 25-year-old, who slashed .277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs and six steals in 84 games this season, is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. Ryan Dull was added to the 40-man roster in a corresponding move.
Gurriel will be shut down for the remainder of the year due to appendicitis, Scott Mitchell of TSN.ca reports. Gurriel is set to have his appendix surgically removed, so there's no chance he'll be able to return this season with only five games remaining. He should be ready to roll for the start of spring training, but the team will know more about his availability moving forward after the procedure.