Blue Jays call up Steward Berroa, place Orelvis Martinez on restricted list

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Steward Berroa is photographed on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 ahead of the MLB season. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Another Buffalo Bisons standout is set to join the Toronto Blue Jays.

The team announced Sunday that it has selected the contract of outfielder Steward Berroa from triple-A and added him to the major-league roster.

Berroa, 25, is a switch-hitter who has been in the Blue Jays organization since 2017. The five-foot-nine Dominican product has spent time all over the field over the course of his minor-league career, but in 2024 has only played in the outfield, with most of his time coming in centre field.

He has also been posting a career-best season at the plate for the Bisons, slashing .287/.375/.436 with seven home runs and 29 stolen bases in 61 games.

In a corresponding move, the Blue Jays placed infielder Orelvis Martinez on the restricted list after the top prospect was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s drug policy.

Berroa’s promotion comes after outfielder Daulton Varsho left Saturday’s loss with what the team called left lower back tightness.

The 27-year-old suffered the injury in the ninth inning when he was unable to run down the line after hitting a ground ball, grabbing his back in pain. He was accompanied off the field by Blue Jays manager John Schneider and trainer Jose Ministral.

The at-bat was Varsho’s fourth of the game, where he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He has been one of Toronto’s top contributors this season, leading the team in WAR, home runs and triples, and is tied for team lead in RBI and stolen bases.

Varsho has also been one of the top defenders in baseball, leading all outfielders in defensive runs saved. On Sunday, Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling reported that the Jays believe Varsho’s absence could be short-term.

Shortstop Bo Bichette could also return soon, as early as Tuesday, according to Zwelling. The plan is for the 26-year-old infielder to test his strained right calf with a full pre-game workout. He was placed on the 10-day injured list last week, but made retroative to the previous Saturday. Bichette is hitting .237 with four homers and 28 RBIs this season.

In other injury updates, reliever Yimi Garcia (elbow) had a good session on Saturday playing catch, while closer Jordan Romano (elbow) is still being evaluated after he experienced soreness in his right elbow during a throwing session.

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