Blue Jays lose opener to Orioles, Bichette to knee injury as trade deadline looms

Toronto's Rogers Centre fell silent as the star Blue Jays shortstop limped out of Monday's game vs. Baltimore clearly favouring his right knee.

Blue Jays lose opener to Orioles, Bichette to knee injury as trade deadline looms

Losing to the top team in the division — one you're chasing — is never a good time, but potentially losing a star player just hours before the trade deadline could be an even tougher pill to swallow.

With the Blue Jays already struggling to the tune of a 4-0 deficit to the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles, star shortstop Bo Bichette pulled up after rounding first base before being assisted off the field and leaving the game with what appeared to be a leg injury.

The team later updated the situation, saying Bichette was removed from the game with "right knee discomfort." He'll undergo more testing and evaluations overnight.

While attempting to decelerate as he trotted around first base after poking one into the right-field corner, Bichette abruptly put on the brakes, keeled over, and allowed Orioles infielder Jorge Mateo to tag him without putting up a fight. After limping and hobbling around for a few seconds, Bichette was immediately helped off and appeared to be in some serious discomfort as he headed toward his team's dugout in front of a stunned-silent Rogers Centre crowd.

Santiago Espinal replaced Bichette at shortstop in the bottom of the fourth.

Bichette would be an immense, potentially insurmountable loss for Toronto if he's forced to miss any kind of serious time down the stretch, with the 25-year-old contributing 15% of the Blue Jays' hits in 2023 — the highest percentage of any AL-team's knocks this season, according to Sportsnet Stats.

Bichette leads the American League with a .321 batting average and 144 hits after reaching base on an infield single in the first on Monday night. Bichette, who also topped the AL in knocks in 2021 and 2022, has 17 home runs and 59 RBI in 106 games this season.

Following a 4-2 loss to Baltimore on Monday, the Blue Jays sit 6.5 games behind the Orioles for first in the AL East, but all eyes will be squarely on Bichette until the extent of his injury is revealed.