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Orelvis is in the building, but for how long?

Orelvis Martinez Toronto Blue Jays Orelvis Martinez - Getty Images

TORONTO — The wait for Orelvis Martinez has been a long one, and it may take even more time before the 22-year-old infielder provides the sort of impact that many are hoping for.

Recalled from Triple-A by Toronto Blue Jays decision-makers for the first time earlier this week, the club’s No. 2 prospect isn’t viewed as any sort of saviour for the powerless, struggling offence.

In fact, Martinez’ stint may be little more than a get-your-feet-wet cameo, with Bo Bichette and his troublesome right calf eligible to return from the injured list early next week.

After being hustled up the 401 from Buffalo to Toronto on Tuesday, Martinez has yet to even make an appearance, but that’s expected to change over the weekend in Cleveland.

A start or two and, if the situation presents itself, maybe a pinch-hit appearance, is about all Martinez is slated for over the next few days.

But what he does with those opportunities will be very important.

If he succeeds, the Jays are in no position to not at least reconsider the plan to return Martinez to Triple-A if he shows he’s ready to handle major-league pitching and can make an impact, even if it’s off the bench.

If he struggles, it’s easy to chalk it up as a learning experience and send him back to Buffalo with some adjustments to make.

One area where manager John Schneider is sure to look to Martinez is against left-handed pitching, thanks to a gaudy .321/.406/.661 slash line with five homers against southpaws already this season.

“He has a special bat,” said Schneider, who noted Martinez will be an option at the two positions he’s worked at regularly in the minors — second base and third base. “Finding the right spot is going to be something we’ll try to do and work him in with the guys who are here.

“I’m not going to force him in, per se. We still have guys that we trust and have confidence in. He’s a young, exciting player. I think you get to the point where you watch how he responds, reacts, performs, along with everyone else we have.”

As a team, the Jays have not hit lefties well at all this year, posting just an 85 wRC+ against them, including a fairly stunning league-low 10 homers.

Martinez is no slouch against righties, either, with an .804 OPS.

Since being signed for $3.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2018 — it’s the fourth-largest international bonus the Jays have ever handed out — Martinez has shown a pretty clear pattern when promoted.

He usually needs some time to adjust.

His first crack at Double-A back in 2022 produced 30 homers, but also a boatload of strikeouts at 28.5 per cent and a pedestrian 96 wRC+.

Sent back to New Hampshire for another go-round to start 2023, Martinez responded by cutting the Ks to 20.5 per cent and pushing his wRC+ to a well-above average 122.

Same thing at Triple-A, with the strikeouts dropping and the power rising during his second attempt at the level this spring.

Even though his swing decisions have improved by leaps and bounds over the past two years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some early growing pains against MLB arms, especially considering Martinez is still just 22 and scouts don’t see a completely finished product at this point.

Now viewed as the long-term solution at second base for the Blue Jays, it’s hard to say how Martinez fits in the short-term as the club still fancies itself a contender, but of all the young names that have matriculated to the majors to replace underperforming veterans recently, he’s without a doubt the one with a chance to become a cornerstone piece.