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Jays' prospect Guerrero Jr. making strides to return from oblique injury

By Matt Loede
Jays' prospect Guerrero Jr. making strides to return from oblique injury
Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is still not ready for his MLB debut, but is getting closer as he's making progress from an oblique strain. Photo by Twitter/BuffaloBisons

March 27 (UPI) -- One of the top prospects in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is ahead of schedule from injury and could be ready for his Major League debut sooner than expected.

Toronto Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Guerrero still is recovering from an oblique strain, and MLB.com reports is making strides toward a return to playing.

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"He's swinging the bat now, so he's doing well," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Tuesday.

"[The next step] is to play games. I don't know [when] yet. We're going to take it slowly, but his injury wasn't that bad, so that's why he's swinging the bat already, and he's ahead of schedule. He's doing well."

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Guerrero was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique following a hard swing in a plate appearance March 8 in a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was felt he would be shut down for a couple of weeks, with the hopes of being close to a return early into the start of the season, and at that time would be able to start playing in the Minors.

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Now ahead of schedule, Guerrero will start to see some action in extended spring training, and then will go to Triple-A Buffalo to play for the Bisons.

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Toronto will keep a close eye on the forecast in Buffalo early in the season, as they don't want him going to a place that is cold and again hurting the oblique and setting him back.

He is to join the Bisons on their first road trip of the season or in Buffalo for a homestand that begins April 19.

Guerreo's debut has been long awaited by the franchise, as the 20-year-old last season in Buffalo hit .336 with six homers and 16 runs batted in, this after hitting .402 in 61 games in Double-A, with 14 homers, driving in 60 runs.

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"He has a very aggressive swing, which is part of the reason," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said of Guerrero's injury. We'll be very careful and ensure that he is ready for that cage work, and there will be less rotational work."

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