Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Steve Pearce was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a right calf strain, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Pearce left Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Mariners after sliding into second base on a double.
The Blue Jays opted to call up journeyman relief pitcher Leonel Campos to take Pearce’s spot. With superstars Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Russell Martin sidelined with various ailments, Campos’ call up may come as a shock to some hoping to inject more life into Toronto’s 22nd-ranked offense.
“[A calf strain] typically nags the entire season if not given the proper time to heal,” the Fantasy Doctor’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Selene Parekh, said. “Expect Pearce to be sidelined for two to four weeks.”
Despite being listed as an outfielder, Pearce has proven his worth around the diamond, seeing time also at first base. With Pearce out and no replacement called up from the minors, expect Ezequiel Carrera to receive the bulk of the playing time in left field.
Carrera becomes an interesting fantasy option in the outfield. Especially in a larger fantasy format, Carrera’s strong start to the season warrants a second look, as the 29-year old is owned in just two percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues. Carrera is batting .327 with three homeruns and 11 runs batted in, and has started the past five games for the Blue Jays.
Justin Smoak also becomes a fascinating play at first base. Although he is owned in just less than eight percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues, Smoak is slashing .274 with seven homeruns and 23 RBIs, and has cut down his strikeout rate 12.5 percent in 2017. Additionally, with most of Toronto’s power sapped from the middle of its lineup due to injury, Smoak has had the opportunity to bat behind Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales at fifth, and should be presented with plenty of occasions to drive in runs.
If Pearce had not been dropped from your fantasy lineup, now is the time to do so. Before his injury, Pearce was struggling at the plate, batting just .205 with four homeruns after slamming a combined 36 over the wall during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.