2023-07-12 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays

AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson | Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Welp, apparently good things do not last.
One day after winning the Home Run Derby in dramatic fashion, Vladdy was witness to something that fans across Canada wished to not have seen - Blue Jays’ All-Star Closer Jordan Romano exiting the game with an apparent injury. After throwing a slider to ex-Jay Lourdes Gurriel Jr. - one that the Diamondbacks Outfielder nearly parked - Romano was forced to leave the game mid-AB and give way to Tigers’ Michael Lorenzen.
At this time, the severity of Romano’s injury isn’t known. American League Manager Dusty Baker mentioned some sort of lower-back tightness as being the issue, however with two consecutive off-days before the season resumes on Friday, Toronto will likely opt for a wait-and-see approach before any moves may be made.
Whit Merrifield tallied a hit over two at-bats, while Bichette and Guerrero Jr. also saw playing time following their being subbed in.
The National League broke the American League’s nine-game All-Star Game win streak with a 3-2, come from behind win, with a two-run shot off the bat of Rockies’ Catcher Elias Diaz in the top of the 8th acting as the difference maker. Rays’ Yandy Diaz also hit a home run, while Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette accounted for the AL’s other run scored via a sacrifice fly. In typical fashion, Marlins’ Luis Arraez went 2-2 with an RBI for the NL’s first run of the game. Injury news aside, the biggest moment for Toronto baseball this break came just twenty-four hours earlier, in the form of the aforementioned home run hitting contest.
Entering the MLB Home Run Derby Monday, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had his sights set on bouncing back from an incredibly tough loss to Mets’ Pete Alonso in Cleveland just a few years ago. Matched up with Dodgers’ OF Mookie Betts in the first round, the outcome was as expected - a Vlad win, by a lot.
With Randy Arozarena, Luis Robert Jr., and hometown fan-favourite Julio Rodriguez all advancing alongside Guerrero Jr., all semi-finals members were representatives of American League teams. Arozarena quickly dispatched Robert Jr., while much to the malign of Mariners fans their star Outfielder Rodriguez lost to a surging Guerrero Jr..
A Guerrero Jr. vs. Arozarena, all-AL-East matchup was the finals showdown, with the Blue Jays’ first baseman slugging 25 bombs. Randy Arozarena made it close, smacking 23 himself, but ultimately coming up short as Vladdy wins his first Home Run Derby in his second attempt.
As the festivities conclude and rest awaits, all eyes now turn towards news of Jordan Romano’s injury. Any prolonged absence may expedite Toronto’s willingness to explore the trade market, though short-term coverage by Jay Jackson or Bowden Francis in the way of innings-eating should be manageable - both have proven capable of facing MLB hitters with relative success.
Toronto opens their unofficial second-half Friday at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the return of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Gabby Moreno headlining an important series for both teams. On the other side, it will be Daulton Varsho’s first series against his former club too, as he looks to find some offensive consistency.
For now, hopefully Toronto won’t be without the MLB saves leader - at least not for long.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


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