Hernandez homer offers some pre-deadline excitement as Blue Jays rally with Tigers

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When it comes to limit day trades with the Blue Jays, outfielder Teoscar Hernandez has pretty much seen it all.

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He came to Toronto at the end of 2017 on a trade from the Astros when the team hoped they could still struggle. Subsequently, the sympathetic outfielder lived through the dismantling of the following two deadlines, saying goodbye to many teammates.

Clearly, Hernandez prefers to be part of a team that is on the buying side and as such is certainly excited for what lies ahead.

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“I think everyone wants the team to do something,” Hernandez said on a Saturday when he played the hero in the Jays’ 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Center. ” Everybody talks about it. We’re just waiting to find out who we’re going to have, or how many players we’re going to have.

“If we get help…welcome. And we will just continue to do our job.

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There’s still some baseball to be played before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. deadline, but for now it’s a priority, especially for a Jays team that’s very much in shopping mode.

As Saturday starter Ross Stripling noted, not a day goes by where residents from all corners of the club play against GM and wonder what it will take to get Juan Soto and where the Nationals star could be found.

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But on Saturday, Hernandez served as a perfect reminder of what the current team setup is capable of with his sixth-inning three-point belt to send the Jays on their way.

The right fielder’s 14th long ball of the season thrilled a packed Rogers Center of 42,933 on a bright and festive day in downtown Toronto. It also sent the Jays to their ninth win in 11 games and secured their spot atop the AL wildcard race.

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“He can change the game in one fell swoop as much as anyone in the league,” manager John Schneider said. “You want it with guys on base, like you do with a lot of our guys.”

As the trade market began to gain traction with baseball deals on Friday and Saturday, you bet that’s the talk from the Toronto clubhouse.

And there’s an excitement associated with that just by considering the possibilities.

“For me, I try not to think about it, just focus on my job and let the front office do its thing,” Hernandez said. “But of course everyone is waiting for the last hours to be done so that we can focus on the rest of the season, whether we have new players or not.”

Schneider, who has seen the team improve to 10-3 under his leadership, is also feeling the buzz. There isn’t a player, coach or front office figure with the Jays who already believes in players here, but they’re also aware of the tantalizing possibilities in the market and the need to load up to challenge the Bears to the American League such as the Yankees. and Astro.

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“It’s kind of a thing,” Schneider said of the work general manager Ross Atkins is doing to provide a timely boost. “We got into a conversation about being a post-season team and hopefully we make a run.

“I think it’s cool that we have the opportunity to improve in different ways.”

Those areas of potential improvement remain the same, even with the Jays’ strong streak of late. Topping the list would be swing and miss arms for the bullpen, even with the encouraging work from the relief corps lately.

With Stripling in 4.1 innings on Saturday, Schneider went through four, saving the two best arms for last – with 1.2 innings of work from Yimi Garcia and a 23rd save leading the AL from closer Jordan Romano , who pitched the ninth.

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“They’ve been nails,” Schneider said of the bullpen. “Underrated at times. But you can’t say enough about what they’ve been up to (recently).

As for what’s next? The excitement of Tuesday is looming.

“I think every organization and every player in the big leagues is just waiting for something to happen,” Hernandez said.

“We wait a bit too. It’s fine if (management) does nothing. We’re just going to go out there and try to do our best and try to win.

GAME ON

The 424-foot Hernandez bomb came off former Jays reliever Derek Law, who managed to spoil the sixth. After hitting Vlad Guerrero Jr. with a pitch and throwing a routine pitch to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the table was set for Hernandez… The Jays continue their aggressive approach under Schneider, as evidenced by a second inning steal by Guerrero, his second of the season (and this week). Guerrero fell on the first run of the game on a Gurriel single… Although George Springer returned to the lineup (at DH) after missing a game to nurse his nagging elbow, it was clear he was in bad shape. comfortable after swings in his first two at bat.

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AROUND THE BASES

In Schneider’s words, the Jays “dodged a bullet” with Alek Manoah, who woke up Saturday feeling better after taking an elbow line Friday. The team won’t know his status for his next start until he pitches again, but Schneider seemed optimistic the big right-hander can keep his spot in the rotation… Another game, another dodged ball when Guerrero is fell in a heap after taking a 97 mph fastball from Law in his left hand. After being controlled, he stayed in the game… In the never-ending quest to keep a fresh arm in the bullpen, the Jays activated southpaw Trent Thornton for Saturday’s game and sent Max Castillo to triple-A from Buffalo.

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