It appears the Toronto Blue Jays won't have to deal with service time issues with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The top prospect in baseball strained his oblique muscle in a game Friday and will be sidelined at least three weeks, general manager Ross Atkins announced Sunday.
To retain team control of Guerrero for another year, the Jays would have had to keep him in the minors for 15 days to start the season. After he hit .381 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs while rocketing through four levels of minor league ball last year, there would have been many critics of the move.
The Cubs faced the same criticism when they held back Kris Bryant during his rookie season in 2015. The MLB Players Association was reportedly monitoring Guerrero's situation closely.
The 19-year-old Guerrero, a third baseman, is hitting .211 with no homers and one RBI this spring. He has been working on his conditioning.
The estimated three weeks of recovery would include the rest of the Grapefruit League schedule, the Blue Jays' exhibition series against the Milwaukee Brewers in Montreal -- where Guerrero was born -- and Opening Day of the regular season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.