LEADING OFF: Vladdy Jr. debuts, La Tortuga gets his night
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is set to make his big league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays against the Oakland Athletics. The son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero ripped through the minor leagues with a .331 average and .945 OPS over three-plus seasons. Guerrero’s smiling face was on the cover of the Toronto Star on Thursday beside a headline that read: “Future is Now.” The Blue Jays are opening gates earlier than usual so fans can watch the 20-year-old take batting practice.
AN EVENING WITH LA TORTUGA
Cult favorite Willians Astudillo is getting his own night at the ballpark in Minnesota. A third-string catcher and utility player with the Twins, Astudillo has become a fan favorite for his pudgy frame, curly hair and elite ability to put the bat on the ball. The club has dubbed it “An Evening With La Tortuga” — a nod to Astudillo’s nickname, meaning turtle in Spanish. Fans who purchased a special ticket package will get T-shirts bearing Astudillo’s nickname before the game against Baltimore.
Jacob deGrom is expected to start for the Mets when they open a three-game set against Milwaukee. DeGrom has been on the injured list with elbow soreness and strep throat, though an MRI on Monday showed no issues in the elbow. New York might be without reliever Jacob Rhame, who was suspended for two games Thursday after twice buzzing Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins with high fastballs Tuesday. It’s unclear if Rhame plans to appeal.
James Paxton looks to continue his well-timed roll while the short-handed Yankees try to stay hot in San Francisco. Paxton (2-2, 3.10) has struck out 24 over 12 scoreless innings in his past two starts, helping New York win its past three series despite an ever-growing injured list. Madison Bumgarner (1-3, 3.66) will start for the Giants.