Mookie Betts
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Mookie Betts exits game with injury

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Bad news in Boston: Red Sox slugger and AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts departed the sixth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Mets with another bout of left side soreness. The incident occurred on Wilmer Flores‘ long sac fly to right field, which was caught by Betts and returned to home plate in an attempt to nail Austin Jackson and preserve the Red Sox’ 3-0 lead.

Instead, Jackson managed to narrowly beat the throw to score the Mets’ first run of the afternoon — inspiring a replay review, which was upheld in the Mets’ favor — while Betts appeared to suffer some kind of oblique injury on the play. He was promptly examined by manager Alex Cora and a team trainer, and was brought off the field before the inning resumed. There’s no word yet on the projected timetable for Betts’ return to the lineup, though he’s expected to undergo further evaluation as the Red Sox suss out the extent of his injury.

The 25-year-old outfielder is approaching the tail end of his best career year to date. Even after an underwhelming day at the plate (0-for-3 with a sac fly and two strikeouts), he’s riding an incredible .337/.431/.619 batting line with 29 home runs, a 1.050 OPS, and 9.2 fWAR across 538 plate appearances. He missed two weeks of playing time this summer after rehabbing a left abdominal strain, but has been remarkably healthy during the second half of the year and appeared to be a strong contender for the AL MVP award this fall.

Following Betts’ exit in the sixth, Jackie Bradley Jr. shifted from center to right field while rookie Tzu-Wei Lin was brought in as a center field replacement. Lin posted remarkable numbers at Triple-A Pawtucket this season, but he’s struggled to find his footing at the major-league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .191/.269/.234 with two extra-base hits and a .503 OPS through 52 PA.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports on the Blue Jays calling up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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UPDATE: Welp, Hécto Gómez may not have this one right. Scott Mitchell of TSN is reporting that it’s “highly unlikely” Guerrero is recalled unless some sort of injury occurs, so I suppose we should all stand down.

Anyone up for keeping him down until the Super Two cutoff in June?

3:35 PM: Héctor Gómez‏, a baseball writer from the Dominican Republic, reports that The Blue Jays will call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He will reportedly make his MLB’s debut on Tuesday. The Blue Jays have not confirmed this yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear sometime this weekend.

As we’ve noted over and over, Guerrero has nothing left to prove in the minors and has not had anything to prove there for some time. Guerrero is currently 7-for-17, with a line of .412/.500/.824 in five Triple-A games this year. In one he hit the ball clear the heck out of the stadium. This coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 408 minor league plate appearances.

A minor injury in spring training made Guerrero unavailable for Opening Day and gave the Jays cover to keep him down in the minors to start the season. With that Guerrero is ensured of not getting a full year’s worth of service time in 2019 and thus the Jays have obtained a full six years of control of him after this season. As such, there really is no baseball nor business reason to keep him down on the farm any longer.