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Vlad Guerrero Jr. Finally Makes MLB Debut, Doesn't Disappoint

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. capped his major league debut with a double leading off the ninth inning for his first hit, and Brandon Drury followed with a winning two-run homer with two outs to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Friday night.

The 20-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, considered the top prospect in the major leagues, arrived at Rogers Centre in a replica Montreal Expos jersey to honor his father, who was on hand.

He grounded out in the second, was robbed of an extra-base hit by left fielder Stephen Pinder’s leaping catch in the fourth, then flied out to right in the sixth.

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In the ninth, Guerrero hit an opposite-field double down the right-field line on a 2-2 fastball from Yusmeiro Petit (0-1).

Billy McKinney sacrificed pinch-runner Alen Hanson and, with the infield in, Teoscar Hernández lined out to second baseman Jurickson Profar.

Drury followed with a drive over the center-field wall, and Guerrero, arm raised, was the first Blue Jays player out of the dugout to celebrate.

Ken Giles (1-1) struck out two on a one-hit ninth.

Eric Sogard’s first-inning homer and Randal Grichuk’s third-inning RBI single built a lead off Mike Fiers, but Robbie Grossman hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Joe Biagini.

Guerrero Jr. missed the start of the season after an oblique injury in spring training. He played four rehab games at Class A Dunedin before moving up to Triple-A Buffalo, where he hit .367 with three homers and eight RBIs in eight games.

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By delaying his debut until Friday, the Blue Jays ensured his maximum service time this year would be 157 days — 15 days shy of being eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.

The few hundred fans already inside the stadium clapped and cheered as Guerrero launched several long drives in batting practice.

A crowd of 28,688 rose for a standing ovation as Guerrero led off the bottom of the second.

Guerrero worked the count to 2-2 as fans chanted “Let’s go, Vladdy!” On the fifth pitch, he hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Kendrys Morales, who made the play unassisted. The exit velocity was 106.8 miles per hour.

Do you think Vlad Guerrero Jr. will be a Hall of Famer like his father?

The 20-year-old batted fifth and played third base, wearing No. 27, the number retired in honor of his father by the Los Angeles Angels.

“Since I was a kid I was running around with my dad in the clubhouse in Montreal,” Guerrero Jr. said in an afternoon news conference. “I just wanted to bring that back today.”

Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted the debut on Twitter with a message attached to a Tweet from the elder Guerrero.

Guerrero’s famous father watched as his son’s batting practice was broadcast live on Sportsnet, the Canadian network operated by team owner Rogers Communications.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Matt Olson (broken right hand) took batting practice for the first time since he was injured March 21 during Oakland’s opening series in Japan.

Blue Jays: Atkins said minor league SS Bo Bichette will not need surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand, an injury that happened when he was hit a pitch Monday. Bichette is expected to miss four to six weeks. … Toronto optioned INF Richard Ureña to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Guerrero. Manager Charlie Montoyo said Ureña was sent down because Toronto doesn’t believe INF Freddy Galvis (left hamstring) will need to go on the injured list. Galvis missed his second straight game Friday. When Galvis sat Wednesday it ended his consecutive games streak at 349. It had been the longest active streak in the majors.

UP NEXT

Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (3-1, 3.04) is 0-2 with a 3.72 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.77) left his previous start, April 21 at Oakland, because of a broken fingernail on his middle finger.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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