BOSTON — After a scary collision at first base in Saturday’s game, Blue Jays infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion.
As he slid head-first into first base beating out an infield single, Gurriel was kicked in the back of the head by Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who was trying to leap over the baserunner. Gurriel remained down for a few moments before being assessed by Blue Jays assistant athletic trainer Jose Ministral.
Rodriguez was shaken up in the collision as well, and after a long break in play, Gurriel remained in the game. But not long after its conclusion, Gurriel told Toronto’s training staff he was experiencing nausea and headaches, and a concussion evaluation confirmed the injury.
Following the collision in the sixth inning, Gurriel made two more plate appearances, picking up an RBI single in the seventh and striking out in the ninth. In the 10th inning, he took over at shortstop and whiffed on a routine ground ball hit directly to him, letting the ball skip under his glove and into the outfield. The game ended three batters later, and Gurriel reported his symptoms shortly after that.
After a player is hit in the head, such as a catcher who takes a foul tip off the mask, Toronto’s process is to ask the athlete every inning if they are experiencing any troubling symptoms. Then, after the game, a member of Toronto’s training staff will run the athlete through a thorough concussion evaluation.
After announcing the injury Sunday morning, a club official added: “Concussion symptoms can regularly present themselves up to 24 hours after an injury that may otherwise seem benign.”
MLB introduced a seven-day disabled list for players experiencing concussion symptoms in 2011. That means the first day Gurriel will be eligible to return will be Sunday, July 22. But how much time he misses will depend on how his symptoms progress over the coming days.
After a player suffers a concussion, Toronto’s training staff puts him through an activity progression to ensure he’s recovered from the injury and able to return to play. Gurriel will first have to demonstrate no symptoms at rest, then during cardiovascular exercise, and finally while performing baseball activities.
“The seven-day DL is there because it allows him to get through that in a reasonable timeframe,” said Blue Jays head athletic trainer Nikki Huffman. “But his health is the priority.”
Guriel will spend his all-star break in Miami, Fla., not far from the Blue Jays facility in Dunedin. Toronto’s training staff will be in touch with him daily, and will have the option of evaluating him personally in Dunedin if his symptoms do not improve.
Elsewhere on the injury front, Aaron Sanchez will travel to Dunedin for the all-star break, and remain at the club’s Florida facility to continue a throwing progression as he recovers from a right index finger contusion. Reliever Danny Barnes — out since mid-June with left knee tendinitis — is also in Dunedin, and is scheduled to throw live batting practice this week.
Finally, Marco Estrada is continuing to rehab his left glute strain, and is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays after the all-star break. He’s currently scheduled to start on July 23 as Toronto opens a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins.