Vernon Wells reported to Jays spring training last week looking to all like he was in great shape.
He cut the usual figure of a star athlete, and it was augmented by a new twist in his approach for the upcoming season — the hiring of a personal trainer who will work with him on a daily basis all season long.
All that — and his status for not only the opening of the Grapefruit League tomorrow, but potentially for Opening Day — was thrown into uncertainty yesterday when the Jays revealed their centrefielder suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that plagued Wells last season.
“He tweaked his hamstring again, he’ll have an MRI (yesterday) and we’ll know more (today),” Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Wells won’t be in centre tomorrow when the Jays open their Grapefruit League schedule at home against the Yankees. The question becomes how much time will he miss, and it’s all but a certainty the club will take a very cautious, long term approach with Wells.
“It is …” Gaston said when asked if Wells’ latest bout with hamstring trouble is a concern.
“I think the only good thing, and there’s nothing good about this, but at least it’s happened now. He has a chance to start the season.”
Jays GM JP Ricciardi estimated Wells timetable to reach as high as four weeks.
“It’s preliminary right now, but it could be four weeks,” Ricciardi said.
Wells will take treatments over the next few days unless the MRI shows a much more serious condition that would require surgery — but there was no indication of that yesterday.
From there he will be evaluated and re-evaluated, but all the medical opinion that’s available on the club won’t change the fact Wells simply needs rest to heal an injury that has already hampered his performance over the past season.
Wells twice went on the disabled list in 2008 — once for a broken wrist and the second for a hamstring pull — and went on to miss 52 games collectively.
Wells revealed last week that he would miss the upcoming World Baseball Classic for the U.S. next month because his time on the disabled list last season makes it difficult to obtain enough insurance based on the value of his seven year, $126 million contract.