The Toronto Blue Jays fell to the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings on Sunday, which meant they missed out on sweeping their AL East rival and gave them back first place. The Blue Jays have been hovering near the top of the AL East for most of the season, but no team has been able to create and hang on to a convincing lead.
The Jays will probably find it harder to stay at the top of their divisional mountain without shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. In Sunday’s game, Tulowitzki was hit by a pitch on his right hand, resulting in a small chip fracture in his thumb. After the game, Tulowitzki spoke to reporters, including SportsNet, and said this about his injury.
“From what I hear it’s very small,” Tulowitzki said of the fracture. “I just couldn’t grip a bat, but obviously I’m good enough to still play defence, so we’ll see how fast we can get the swelling out, see how it feels (Monday), and go from there.”
The Blue Jays, minus Tulowitzki, will take on the Houston Astros in today’s Yahoo Sports’ MLB Free Game of the Day. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. ET, and you can stream it You can stream the game at Yahoo’s Sports Home, MLB index, video home, the Yahoo Sports app, and right here in this very post. Local blackouts apply per MLB rules.
There’s good reason to be wary of anyone, even Tulowitzki himself, saying any injury he has is “very small.” Tulo’s injury history is long and checkered. In 2008, he missed two months with a torn right quad. In 2010, he missed five weeks with a fractured wrist. In 2012, he played only 47 games before he needed groin surgery, and was out for the rest of the season. He missed 25 games in 2013 with a fractured rib. He was out almost the entire second half of the 2014 season after hip surgery. He cracked a shoulder blade in 2015 and nearly missed the postseason. And he’s already been on the disabled list once in 2016 with a right quad strain. With Troy Tulowitzki, few injuries are ever small.
If Tulo is injured for a significant time once again, the Blue Jays will definitely miss him. His numbers don’t quite look like they did when he was playing half his games in Coors Field (in 2016 he’s batted .243/.311/.463), but he’s hit 18 homers. And no matter what, the Jays will miss his great defense at shortstop. Homers and great defense are two things they will definitely need as they continue to battle the Orioles and the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
It’s entirely possible that Tulo’s thumb injury is “very small,” just like he said it is. But maybe the Blue Jays should have a plan B in place just in case.
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