TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays are shifting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. across the diamond, moving the slugger to first base from third.
Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said Guerrero feels comfortable at first and the team has Travis Shaw ready to play third. Montoyo also said Guerrero will see time as a designated hitter. He didn’t rule out that he will play some third in the future.
“This is more about Vladdy and giving him a chance to succeed in a short season,” Montoyo said.
Guerrero hit .272 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 123 games as a rookie, delivering a series of big swings en route to the finals of the All-Star Home Run Derby. He led the team with 17 errors.
A move to to first was not expected this early in his career. Guerrero said he’s OK with the move.
“I agreed to it,” he said through an interpreter. “Whatever the team needs.”
The 21-year-old son of Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is one of baseball’s most heralded young players. The Blue Jays asked him to drop weight and boost endurance during the off-season. He injured his left oblique muscle in spring training last year, and later missed occasional games because of right knee pain.
Two of Toronto’s top prospects, Jordan Groshans and Austin Martin, are infielders. Moving Guerrero to first will make room for them in future years.
Bo Bichette is Toronto’s shortstop and Cavin Biggio is the second baseman. Both are promising young players and sons of former major league players.
Shaw signed a one year contract in the offseason.