While the Buffalo Bisons keep waiting for the Toronto Blue Jays to make the call that finally sends mega prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Triple-A, they will open a road trip Tuesday night in Louisville with two longtime members of the Toronto pitching staff on their roster.
Marco Estrada will start one of the games of the doubleheader at Louisville Slugger Field on an injury rehab assignment, the Blue Jays said Monday. Closer Roberto Osuna, on the road back after a 75-game MLB suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident, has also been sent to the Herd and is scheduled to join the team in Louisville for the 5 p.m. twin bill (Radio 1520 AM).
Guerrero, meanwhile, remains at Double-A New Hampshire, but it seems increasingly likely the 19-year-old third base phenom is just days away from making his debut with Buffalo. New Hampshire opened a three-game series Monday night in Reading and then heads to Hartford for a four-game set that begins Thursday. Guerrero is expected to miss at least part of that set to be in Cooperstown on Sunday for the Hall of Fame induction of his namesake father, the longtime Montreal and Anaheim outfielder.
New Hampshire is off next Monday and starts a homestand on July 31. The Bisons, meanwhile, start a four-game series next Monday against Lehigh Valley, and Guerrero could ostensibly head West on the Thruway to be in Buffalo for the opener of that series.
Guerrero is batting .408 in 56 games for New Hampshire with 11 homers and 56 RBIs. He missed more than a month with a knee injury, returned to play at two Class A levels and has gone 9 for 21 while hitting safely in all six games since returning to Double-A.
Estrada hasn't pitched since he left a start against the New York Mets on July 3 after 12 pitches because of a strained glute. He originally was supposed to pitch on rehab Monday for New Hampshire, but flight complications changed those plans and the Jays announced he is headed for Louisville.
Because of rainouts in April in Buffalo, the Bisons are playing nine games over six games on this trip. They also have doubleheaders slated for Friday and Sunday in Indianapolis. All IL teams were off Monday. The Bisons (45-48) are five games out of the wild-card slot with 45 to play.
Estrada is 4-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 17 starts for the Blue Jays this season. He won 32 games for Toronto the previous three years, 13 of them coming in the the Jays' 2015 AL East championship season.
Osuna's suspension runs through Aug. 4, so he could be in Buffalo for quite a while. He was charged with assault by Toronto police May 8 in the wake of an alleged incident with a woman and was suspended by Commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the game's Joint Domestic Violence Policy.
Osuna had nine saves this season, pushing his total to 104 with the Blue Jays since breaking into the big leagues in 2015. He rocketed from Class A ball in 2014 directly to the big leagues, never stopping to pitch in Buffalo. His career high in saves was 39 last season.
The Bisons suffered a major loss to their rotation Monday when the Texas Rangers claimed pitcher Chris Rowley on waivers and assigned him to Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League.
Rowley was 5-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 17 starts for the Herd this season, leading Buffalo in starts and innings (101). A former Army standout, Rowley made his big-league debut for the Blue Jays last year.
Meanwhile, Buffalo's Sean Reid-Foley (7-2) was named International League Pitcher of the Week after two more red-hot outings. He became the first Bison to get to seven wins this season when he pitched six shutout innings in Sunday's 5-3 win over Durham in Coca-Cola Field. In his previous start of the week, the right-hander gave up one run on one hit over six innings in a 7-3 win over Norfolk.
Reid-Foley, 22, went 5-0 at New Hampshire before being promoted to Buffalo. In his last six starts with the Bisons, he's 5-0 with a 2.00 earned-run average, allowing just 20 hits in 36 innings. Over that span, he has 42 strikeouts and just 12 walks.