There were rumors swirling this afternoon that Buffalo Bisons catcher Raffy Lopez would be activated prior to the Houston series today, and now it has been confirmed:
Blue Jays announce catcher Raffy Lopez has been recalled from triple-A. Miguel Montero heads to the DL with a hamstring injury.— Israel Fehr (@israelfehr) August 4, 2017
Miguel Montero appeared to have pulled a muscle fielding a comebacker off J.A. Happ in the 3rd game of the White Sox series, but ended up finishing out the inning. Russell Martin came in to sub for him in the next inning, and the club said he was removed as a pre-caution and would likely be fine after the off day yesterday.
This no longer appears to be the case as Montero is the 23rd Jay to hit the DL, and the 28th assignment for the Jays this year (which is 14 more assignments than all of last year).
The role of back-up catcher on the Jays roster has been an offensive black hole this year. Let’s explore:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Apr 7 - Apr 27 - .040/.077/.040. He was sent back down to Buffalo and eventually released.
Luke Maile - Apr 28 - July 3 - .121/.154/.202. He was great defensively, but was sent to the DL with what we all presumed to be a phantom injury when the Jays acquired an allegedly better hitter in Miguel Montero. Turns out Luke had a torn meniscus in his knee, and is recovering from surgery to repair it. He will likely return to full health on a date that perfectly coincides with September call-ups.
Mike Ohlman - May 9 - May 19 - .222/.222/.222. He was the back-up catcher to Luke Maile when Russell Martin was on the DL. Very small sample size. He had 9 plate appearances total over 5 games, and recorded 2 hits (both singles) and 1 RBI.
Miguel Montero - July 5 - Aug 2 - .083/.214/.167. He has 3 hits over 36 plate appearances with one home run and 6 strike outs. He has not been the offensive replacement the front office was hoping for when they acquired him from the Cubs. I haven’t heard any of the pitchers rave about his defensive abilities the way they did about Maile.
Raffy Lopez, (who is 29), has been hitting .293/.368/.551 over 59 games in AAA Buffalo. He has 26 extra base hits, including 12 home runs. Lopez will take a spot on the 40 man roster that was freed up when Brett Oberholtzer was sent back to Buffalo. Hopefully he can throw out base stealers better than Montero could.
Raffy Lopez was named the Bisons' top power tool. Has 16 homers in 273 PA this year in AA and AAA. https://t.co/MD9edDKp5c https://t.co/uZjJLWGz2t— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) August 4, 2017
Raffy has played at the major league level before - 7 games in 2014 for the Chicago Cubs, and 8 games in 2016 for the Reds.
In other news, Danny Barnes is back from the DL and Joe Biagini has been sent to Buffalo to be stretched out as a starter. The Jays rotation is pretty slim at the moment with Aaron Sanchez still on the DL and Francisco Liriano traded, so this makes a ton of sense. I’m sure he will only need a couple starts there and will be back shortly.
#BlueJays sending Joe Biagini to triple-A to start. First start Monday. He's on board with the plan. #BlueJays expect him back this month— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 4, 2017