With Dalton Pompey’s 20-day rehab window off his latest concussion coming to a close, the Blue Jays were forced to make a decision on the out-of-options Mississauga product Tuesday: Either add the 26-year-old outfielder to the active roster and bring him to Toronto or designate him for assignment and set a series of unknowns into motion. TSN Baseball Reporter Scott Mitchell checks in with news and notes on the Jays.
TORONTO — Already a forgotten man inside the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Dalton Pompey’s career with his hometown team is now in limbo.
With Pompey’s 20-day rehab window off his latest concussion coming to a close, the Jays were forced to make a decision on the out-of-options Mississauga product Tuesday: Either add the 26-year-old outfielder to the active roster and bring him to Toronto or designate him for assignment and set a series of unknowns into motion.
Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins decided to go the DFA route, leaving Pompey in serious limbo for the next seven days.
One of two things can now happen: The Jays could lose Pompey on waivers for nothing, or they could trade him for a pittance, similar to what they did with Dwight Smith Jr. earlier this year.
However, if Pompey goes unclaimed over the next week, the Jays would then have the choice of either giving him his outright release or assigning him back to Triple-A Buffalo, sans the comfort of the 40-man roster spot he had been occupying for the past five years.
Either way, it’s potentially an unceremonious end to a Blue Jays career that started with a whole lot of fanfare when he was handed the starting centre field job to begin the 2015 season.
Since that year, due to injuries, mostly, alongside a sprinkling of poor performance, Pompey has appeared in just 13 games at the major-league level across four seasons.
Back in March, it looked like the 2010 16th round pick might get one final opportunity in a Blue Jays uniform, but Pompey suffered a concussion — his third as a professional — when he hit his head on some bats that were on top of his locker and was subsequently placed on the 60-day IL.
“I was pulling for the guy and playing him every day (in spring training) because he has the tools to be good, but when you keep getting hurt people pass you by and that’s what happened,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Tuesday afternoon.
“He hasn’t even had that many at-bats to come to the big leagues. We had to make a decision. It wasn’t even going to be fair to call him up with, whatever, the 10 at-bats he has in Triple-A and missing all that time.”
In five games with the Bisons over the past week, Pompey had picked up six hits in 22 trips to the plate, but it apparently wasn’t enough to get a look.
For a team desperately searching for outfield options, especially in centre, it’s an odd time to give up on a player with obvious tools.
The Jays viewed him as an asset good enough to keep around since the 2018 season came to a close — 40-man roster spots are a valuable commodity when shaping a roster over the winter — but not important enough to hand at-bats to when he returned to full health.
Pompey knew a decision was coming back in February, and that day finally arrived Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” Pompey said in spring training. “They’re going to do what’s best for the organization and team and whether I’m a part of that plan or not is totally their decision. I think I’ve been here long enough — I’ve been here for 10 years now — that a lot of people know what I can do. Either I fit or I don’t. It’s black or white, just like that.”
From the major-league roster all the way down to Low-A, the Blue Jays provided a slew of injury updates Tuesday.
Here are the highlights:
RHP Ryan Tepera (right elbow impingement): After undergoing surgery in late May to deal with troublesome bone spurs in his right elbow, Tepera has begun ramping up and will start long-tossing next week.
RHP John Axford (right elbow): The 36-year-old reliever completed his mound progression with no issues and could begin a rehab stint as early as later this week.
RHP Elvis Luciano (right elbow sprain): The 19-year-old is continuing elbow strengthening exercises with no issues. He’ll be re-evaluated to begin a throwing program in two weeks.
LHP Clayton Richard (left lat): The southpaw was re-evaluated in Toronto this week and is scheduled to begin a throwing program in a few days.
RHP Clay Buchholz (Grade 2 teres major strain): The veteran, dealing with a shoulder/upper back strain, threw his first bullpen last week and has two more scheduled for this week.
RHP Julian Merryweather (right elbow): After experiencing arm fatigue in rehab games at the end of June while returning from Tommy John surgery, he’s now been shut down for three-plus weeks. He’s currently in Dunedin and will be re-evaluated at the end of the week.
RHP Jordan Romano (oblique): Fresh off his MLB debut, the Markham, Ont., product strained an oblique, but he’s started a throwing program in Dunedin.
SS/3B Jordan Groshans (left foot): The 2018 first-round pick is currently rehabbing a stress injury in his left foot that’s kept him out of action since May 11, but he’s scheduled to be re-evaluated later this week and the club expects him to return sometime next month.
OF Anthony Alford (oblique): The oft-injured outfielder has started swinging a bat at the team complex in Dunedin, but there’s currently no firm timeline for a return.
2B Devon Travis (left knee): The oft-injured second baseman is continuing to work through a strengthening program, but has not started baseball activities. He may not return this season.