By: Brian Frank
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette returned to Sahlen Field on an injury rehabilitation assignment on Wednesday, as the Herd took on the Rochester Red Wings. It was the two-time All-Star’s first game action since injuring his right knee rounding first base against the Baltimore Orioles on July 31 at Rogers Centre.
Bichette was the designated hitter, batting second in the Bisons lineup. After grounding out in his first at-bat, he grounded a single through the right side of the infield in the third inning. He got a chance to test his knee, when the next batter, Ernie Clement, lined a double into the left-center field gap. Bichette raced around to score all the way from first base.
Bichette at Sahlen Field. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
“It felt good,” Bichette said of the play, before adding with a chuckle, “I’m not going to lie, I was hoping I’d be stopped. But it was a good first day to be able to go first to home for sure.”
“That’s why I came here mostly, so I could go a hundred percent and see what it felt like – and so I’m happy with today.”
Bichette led the American League in hits in each of the last two seasons and currently leads the A.L. with 144 hits despite missing over two weeks of action due to his injury. He added his second hit of the afternoon when he lined a single through the right side of the infield in the fourth inning.
“It felt good,” he said of his 2-for-3 day. “Obviously, this is a lot different than being in the big leagues, at least for myself – the anxiety part of it, the human nature part of it isn’t really there. But for the most part, the swing felt good, timing felt good, like I said with my knee, I feel good about it.”
Bisons manager Casey Candaele noted that having a player of Bichette’s caliber around the team’s young players can only have a positive effect.
“He’s out here on a Wednesday day game – and he’s out taking ground balls before the game,” Candaele said. “Just the dedication and making sure he hones his craft continually is good for any young player that is looking to see what it takes to be a big leaguer. He’s just a good positive influence to have around.”
Taking infield on Wednesday morning. Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
A crowd of 9,851 was on hand, giving Bichette, who starred at Sahlen Field with the 2019 Bisons and the 2020 and 2021 Blue Jays, loud ovations when he stepped to the plate.
“The fans seemed excited to see me,” Bichette smiled. “They gave me some cheers, so that’s cool. Yeah, it’s good to be back. It’s good to see some guys I haven’t seen in a while and see how they’re doing.”
The All-Star shortstop is anxious to get back with his Blue Jays teammates for their late-season playoff drive. Toronto currently sit in the third A.L. wild card spot. He hopes to join the Blue Jays later this week when they begin a six-game road trip through Cincinnati and Baltimore.
“The hope right now is to feel good tomorrow playing shortstop and if all goes well, then hopefully I’ll be in Cincinnati,” he said.
“I’m ready for it. This is the most fun time of the year. The adrenaline is going, the games matter, every at-bat, every pitch. I’m excited for it. It’ll be fun.”
Bichette went 2-for-3 for the Herd. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles