Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is seen at a media availablity in Toronto on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Atkins can't wait to see slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s busy offseason translate on the baseball field this year for the Toronto Blue Jays.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Blue Jays GM Atkins sees many benefits to Guerrero Jr.’s off-season weight loss

DUNEDIN, Fla. — General manager Ross Atkins can’t wait to see slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s busy off-season translate on the baseball field this year for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Guerrero spent a lot of his time shedding weight, certainly looking fit and fit and trim in pictures posted on his Instagram account. The 21-year-old has reportedly dropped 40 pounds from last season.

That certainly bodes well for the Blue Jays, who have pitchers and catchers arriving at camp this week. The team’s first full-squad workout is set for Monday.

“It’s incredible to see the smile on his face, the shape he’s in, how his routine has developed and how it’s become his own,” Atkins said of Guerrero on Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. “Every day this off-season he’s got better, he looks great, he’s in a really good position.

“I’m really excited to see how that’s going to impact every aspect of his game this year.”

The six-foot-two Guerrero, whose weight is listed at 250 pounds, had nine home runs and 33 runs batted in last year while appearing in all 60 of Toronto’s games. The Jays posted a 32-28 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to secure the eighth and final spot in the expanded American League playoffs before losing to Tampa Bay.

Guerrero Jr., the son of Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, made his much-anticipated major-league debut in 2019, hitting .272 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs in 123 games. He was sixth in voting for the American League’s rookie of the year award.

“Vladdy is special,” Atkins said. “What he’s able to do with his athleticism when he’s maximizing it and his swing are really fun to watch.”

Atkins can see Guerrero’s off-season work paying off in 2021.

“If you think about the reps it takes and how many swings they (hitters) will take before they get into a batter’s box … so much of it is about the athleticism that you can repeat,” he said. “So the better shape you’re in, the more repeatable things are going to be because you’re able to repeat them more in your practice.

“Hitting is in some ways, and I think, is harder to evaluate, assess and project and predict or study than pitching because it’s so dynamic and you don’t know what the hitter’s thinking. You always know what they (pitchers) were trying to do, based on the outcome, where the catcher is set up … but with a hitter you don’t.”

The expectation is Guerrero will see time at third base during spring training. He was used exclusively at first and as a designated hitter last year.

As well, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who played left field in 2020, will get reps at first and third. Atkins said spring training is an ideal time for players to get time playing different positions.

“I think we have to envision all of those things and think about all of those potential scenarios that could occur,” Atkins said. “In an ideal world we don’t need to see that for an extended period of time because that means everyone is healthy, everyone is playing the positions they’re accustomed to.

“But what we don’t want to do is not think about that early in spring training, not use this time to give guys exposure to different positions so in the event we do have injuries … and really wanting ways to get different bats into the lineup this is the time to work on that, to give different players exposure to different positions.”

Atkins added it also gives manager Charlie Montoyo more options during games.

“It also creates different late-game decision-making opportunities for Charlie as he thinks about pinch-running, pinch-hitting and what that means for re-positioning and realigning our defence,” Atkins said.

The Blue Jays’ first exhibition contest is Feb. 28 in Tampa against the New York Yankees.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Traffic will be delayed on 40th Avenue and 19th Street until the end of February. (Advocate file photo).
Traffic delays expected downtown this weekend

Red Deer drivers will be delayed in the downtown area of the… Continue reading

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read