Hold on, Fisher Cats fans: Vlad Jr. is returning ThursdayBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 18. 2018 9:19PM
MANCHESTER — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats revealed in between games of Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Trenton Thunder that third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will rejoin the team Thursday night as it opens up a four-game set with the Harrisburg Senators at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
“It’s the best player in the minor leagues, a shot of energy and some run support,” said Fisher Cats manager John Schneider after Wednesday’s games. “We’re glad that he’s healthy and done everything he needed to do in Florida to get back to this point. Obviously everyone — myself and the staff included — will be happy to see him. He’s the most dynamic offensive player in the minors and it’s going to help us tremendously.”
The Toronto Sun reported last week that Guerrero Jr., who has been on the disabled list since June 7 with a strained patella tendon, would join Triple-A Buffalo upon his return. That report was contradicted on Sunday by Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr., who said his son would be returning to New Hampshire sometime this week during an interview at the All-Star Futures Game in Washington D.C.
Guerrero Jr. started a four-game rehab stint in the lower minors last Friday and finished 5-for-13 with three doubles and two RBIs. Baseball’s No. 1 prospect will look to pick up where he left off with the Fisher Cats as he clubbed 11 homers and 55 RBIs while hitting .410 in 54 games before his injury.
“He’s accounting for an extra run or two a game, which is just ridiculous,” Schneider said. “We’ll have him at third and batting third for us (tonight). It’s nice to have guys step up while he’s been gone like Harold (Ramirez) and (Jon) Berti so it’ll be nice to slide him into that mix back alongside Bo (Bichette) and (Cavan) Biggio.”
While New Hampshire has done well in staying afloat during Guerrero Jr.’s absence, Biggio admitted the lineup did feel as though it had a hole without its 19-year-old slugger.
“It’s definitely been a grind for us the last month-and-a-half or so,” Biggio said. “Our team is going to be that much better with him though. Besides the whole baseball player he is, we’ve got a really good guy and somebody fun to have in the clubhouse.I think that all will help us a ton.”