TORONTO — Matt Chapman is back in the Toronto Blue Jays' lineup.
Chapman was activated from Toronto's 10-day injured list and was sixth in the Blue Jays lineup when they hosted the Texas Rangers on Thursday. Chapman went on the injured list Aug. 28 with a right middle finger sprain after he got it caught between a dumbbell and a weight rack.
"He's a big part of our team, obviously, and we're excited to have him back," said Toronto manager John Schneider. "I think just his overall energy is a good thing for the entire group.
"We're looking forward to having him out there every day."
The third baseman's batting average was .248 with 15 home runs before his injury. His 36 doubles lead the team, even after the lengthy time away.
Chapman is renowned for his defence, having earned three Gold Glove Awards (2018, 2019, 2021) and two Platinum Glove Awards (2018, 2019). His ability in the field has given him a 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, a statistic that measures a player's value by deciphering how many more wins he's worth than a replacement-level player at his same position.
His 4.0 WAR is the best on the Blue Jays this season, slightly ahead of all-star shortstop Bo Bichette's 3.9.
Schneider said that normally Toronto would have sent Chapman to the minor leagues on a rehab assignment but with the Blue Jays fighting for a post-season spot
"It's one of those weird things where you can go on a rehab assignment and go 0 for 12 and come back and be hot," said Schneider in his office before Thursday's game. "We'll take Matt Chapman at his talent level, we'll take that and go with it."
Heading into Thursday's game, Toronto (80-66) trailed the Seattle Mariners by a game for the American League's third and final wild-card spot. The Rangers have the second wild card spot, half a game up on Seattle.
Outfielder Nathan Lukes was optioned to the Blue Jays' triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., to make space for Chapman on Toronto's roster.
Lukes hit .192 with four runs and two RBIs over 26 at bats for the Blue Jays this season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press