Blue Jays' Schneider on Guerrero Jr.: 'He's really, really close' to breaking out

Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider joins Blair & Barker to discuss slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s inconsistent season as a hitter.

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider believes star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is poised for a big finish to the season.

While Guerrero hasn't played at an all-star level in September, Schneider thinks last year's runner-up for the American League's MVP award could turn the corner shortly.

"Vladdy hit the ball extremely hard this past road trip — some on the ground, some in the air," Schneider said on Blair and Barker on Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Monday.

"I think Vladdy is really close and if you get him and Bo (Bichette) clicking at the same time, that’s pretty damn dangerous at the top of the order ... There are a few little cues he’s working on that kind of stay in the clubhouse or the batting cage. He’s really, really close.”

Guerrero went 5-for-14 in three games with a walk and his first two doubles of the month over the weekend in Texas, where the Blue Jays concluded an 8-2 road trip.

The 23-year-old doesn't have a home run in September and is slashing just .196/.260/.239 for the month.

However, Schneider sees improvement in Guerrero's mental approach in recent days.

“I think that and I think some other things that happened in the batter’s box. When those two things click, and like I said I think it’s really coming, that will be a really good thing for us," Schneider said.

Bichette, meanwhile, is carrying a hot bat into a five-game series against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

The shortstop is hitting .500 with six homers and 16 RBI in September.

“The results have just been otherworldly over the last road trip with what he’s doing," Schneider said. "I think everybody’s waiting for a big smile or something but it’s very unique he can keep the same demeanour — (whether things are) good, bad or indifferent.

“The two-strike approach is allowing him to have confidence before he gets there. He’s been really, really good in terms of swinging and missing and chasing and things like that and eliminating those things and I think having confidence in his two-strike approach."

This week, Schneider will have to continue to tweak his lineup because of the absence of outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (hamstring).

“One day at a time, maybe a few innings at a time," Schneider said. "Guys like (Raimel) Tapia, (Cavan) Biggio, Whit (Merrifield), Jackie (Bradley Jr.), (Bradley) Zimmer, they all kind of add a different look in terms of what an outfielder can provide whether it’s offence, defence, bases, what have you.

"Tapia has stepped up and done a really nice job with the opportunity that has come about. It is a creative way to get Cavan and Whit in the outfield to start games like we did yesterday and the day before and adjust if we need to. We’ll go basically game by game with it and performance is definitely a big part of it, matchups are definitely a big part of it. But I think we’re fortunate to have the depth that we do on our major-league roster to absorb the loss of Lourdes a little bit."

Watch the opener of the Blue Jays-Rays series on Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT on Sportsnet or SN NOW.

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