The Toronto Blue Jays have been heavily criticized for sitting third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. against the Boston Red Sox on Monday, which happened to be Victoria Day - a major Canadian holiday. Now the team's general manager is speaking up about the decision.
Ross Atkins said on Tuesday that manager Charlie Montoyo makes lineup decisions. However, Atkins added that he could have done a better job of making Montoyo aware of the situation.
"Absolutely, I think the fact that fans are upset... certainly would not prefer that," Atkins said when asked if he understands why there's been a backlash over Guerrero sitting.
"The one thing that I regret is that, in all the things that I have talked about with Charlie, I had not talked to him about the importance of Victoria Day."
The executive also acknowledged seeing the lineup card in advance and that he could have intervened, but his policy is to not interfere with the manager's decisions, according to John Lott of The Athletic.
“That’s on me,” Atkins told Lott.
Guerrero, who was named the AL Player of the Week on Monday, didn't play because of a scheduled day off.
Atkins said that after receiving input from the front office and high-performance department, Montoyo and his coaches decide when players will rest.
“We got a set deal that he needs to get a day off,” Montoyo said before the game. “Everybody’s going to get a day off anyways - 16 straight days. So today was Vlad’s.”
Montoyo is in his first season as Toronto's manager after spending over two decades in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
The struggling Blue Jays (19-28) ended up drawing the third-biggest crowd of their season on Victoria Day (26,794) during a blowout loss to the Red Sox. The 20-year-old Guerrero - the consensus top prospect in baseball - hit .333/.417/.905 with four homers and nine RBIs over a six-game span last week.