The Toronto Blue Jays reassigned Vladimir Guerrero Jr., their top prospect, to their minor-league camp on Thursday, Sportsnet reported.
The third baseman has been sidelined since last weekend with a left oblique strain and will start the season with Triple-A Buffalo. Recovery time is expected to be about three weeks.
Guerrero, who will turn 20 on Saturday, spent time last season at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. He is the son of Hall of Fame member Vladimir Guerrero.
In 61 games in New Hampshire, the younger Guerrero batted .402 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. After his promotion to Buffalo, he hit .336 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 30 games.
The Blue Jays will gain a year of service time should he spend at least 15 days in the minors before being called up. Had he not been injured, the team likely would have been criticized if it had left him off the roster to ensure the extra year of control.
It is expected the Blue Jays will call him up to the majors early in the 2019 season.
Guerrero Jr. was hitting .211 with no home runs over 19 at-bats before he was injured.