Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and third baseman Matt Chapman both left Sunday's extra-innings loss to the Cleveland Guardians with injuries.
Bichette exited with right quad tightness in the top of the sixth inning after jogging gingerly to first base on a groundout the inning prior. Santiago Espinal replaced Bichette at shortstop and in the No. 1 spot in the batting order.
Bichette returned from the injured list on Aug. 19 after suffering a knee injury on July 31. Manager John Schneider told reporters after the game that it's unrelated to the previous ailment and that Bichette was lifted for precautionary reasons. Schneider added that Bichette has been "feeling it" in his quad and playing through it.
Losing Bichette for any period of time would be a devastating blow to a Blue Jays team fighting for its playoff life. Bichette has been the club's best offensive player in 2023, hitting .316 with 18 home runs. His 152 hits lead the American League.
Chapman departed with right middle finger inflammation, an issue that sidelined him for several days earlier this month. The 30-year-old is headed for an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, per Schneider.
With trade deadline acquisition Paul DeJong surprisingly designated for assignment last weekend, Espinal figures to shoulder shortstop or third base duties if Bichette or Chapman are only out for a couple days. Toronto has a number of minor-leaguers who could earn a promotion if either infielder's injury requires an IL stint.
Ernie Clement appeared in 13 games with the Blue Jays earlier in 2023 and has put together a strong season at Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .346 with a .944 OPS in 68 contests.
The Blue Jays could also give the nod to one of Addison Barger or Orelvis Martinez, who are more highly touted prospects. Barger, 23, would give Toronto another powerful left-handed bat. His numbers with Buffalo have been strong over the past 28 days, slashing .319/.434/.507 during that span.
Martinez has only spent 31 games at Triple-A, so the Blue Jays may prefer to be more patient with their prized 21-year-old.