Blue Jays’ Anthony Alford out 3-6 weeks with hamstring strain

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford. (Frank Gunn/CP)

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Anthony Alford will miss the start of the season with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain that will delay his development for three to six weeks.

Before injuring his hamstring Monday, Alford had impressed the Blue Jays with his defence, baserunning and improved plate approach this spring. Though he wasn’t in the mix to break camp with the team, a mid-season call-up wasn’t hard to envision for someone who ranked 60th among all MLB prospects, according to Baseball America. Now that timeline’s been pushed back considerably.

The 23-year-old debuted at the MLB level last year, but played in just four games because of fractured left hamate that required surgery. He has just 301 games of minor-league experience due to time playing football and subsequent knee, concussion and hamate injuries.

As much as anything, Alford simply needs reps. For the time being, at least, he won’t get any.

“Really it’s just play X amount of games for experience so he runs through every situation,” manager John Gibbons said Tuesday. “He doesn’t need to start focusing too much on this or that. Just go play. He’s such a natural talent, (development) will take care of itself.”

The Blue Jays’ triple-A outfield now projects to include Teoscar Hernandez, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith Jr. and Roemon Fields.

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