One of baseball’s biggest and brightest stars is reportedly withdrawing from this month’s World Baseball Classic. The Toronto Blue Jays announced on Saturday that star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. will not play for his native Dominican Republic in the WBC due to right knee discomfort.
The Blue Jays are playing it safe with Guerrero, who suffered a right knee injury while running the bases during the first inning of Toronto’s spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. Guerrero was replaced defensively in the third inning after being seen walking toward Toronto’s clubhouse with an athletic trainer.
Manager John Schneider announced on Saturday that Guerrero is dealing with minor inflammation in the knee. Fortunately for Guerrero and the Blue Jays, the MRI he underwent didn’t reveal any structural damage.
The unfortunate news is that the baseball world will be robbed of seeing the 23-year-old slugger on one of baseball’s biggest stages, facing off against premiere players from all over the world. Guerrero was scheduled to depart camp on March 11, but now he’ll likely stay with the Blue Jays for the remainder of spring training in Dunedin, Florida.
When the Blue Jays return north of the Border, they’ll need a healthy Guerrero to compete with the Rays and New York Yankees for the American League East crown. In 160 games last season, Guerrero hit for an average of. 274 with 32 home runs and 97 RBIs.
How long Guerrero will be sidelined remains to be seen.