A Toronto Blue Jays offence that had mustered a combined five runs in the previous three games was given a jolt Saturday evening with the return of star shortstop Bo Bichette against the visiting New York Mets in Buffalo.
Some wondered if the 22-year-old's regular season was over when he was placed on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 16 with a Grade 1 sprain in his right knee.
But he was back in the starting lineup at Sahlen Field, delivering a single to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and scoring a run in a 3-2 victory after missing 27 games. He now boasts a .354 batting average on the season.
Bichette hurt his knee in what he called a "freak incident" while stretching in the on-deck circle in the first inning of a Aug. 15 game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bichette completed his rehab stint in Rochester, N.Y., the Blue Jays' alternate training site this season.
'Fun to watch' teammates compete
The second-year major leaguer told reporters on a Zoom call before Saturday's game that he expects to play regularly at shortstop over the last two weeks of the regular season and into their playoff push.
The Blue Jays went 17-10 after Bichette's injury to jump into second place and playoff position in the American League East behind Tampa and ahead of the New York Yankees. They are 25-20 with 15 games left on the schedule.
Bichette said it was fun to watch his team do so well during his absence.
"Definitely wanted to be a part of it but at the same time they've been playing amazing, fighting every night, winning a lot of close games," said Bichette, who has five home runs, 13 runs batted in, four stolen bases and a .382 on-base percentage in 65 at-bats this season. "And so as much as I wanted to be a part of it, it was just as much fun to watch it and see how they competed throughout the past four weeks."