Speaking on Thursday at Toronto's spring training home in Dunedin, Florida, Atkins said the most likely scenario will be Brandon Drury opening the season as the Blue Jays' starting third baseman but acknowledged things can change between now and Opening Day.
"I think that's the most likely scenario," Atkins said of Drury at third base. "Having said that, we're a good number of days away from opening the season, and we'll see how things progress. Health, performance."
Guerrero, the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, is expected to arrive in spring camp with the rest of the team's position players this weekend.
The 19-year-old hit .402 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in Double-A last year, then was promoted to Triple-A and hit .336 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 30 games.
Keeping Guerrero in the minors, at least temporarily, benefits the Blue Jays; the quicker his major league service time begins, the quicker he's eligible for free agency and a potentially big payday.
"There is no firm timeline on when he arrives and when he is playing in Toronto for the first time," Atkins said. "But we want to make sure he's the best possible third baseman, best possible hitter he can be. This is going to be a fun and exciting time for him. A fun and exciting time for the organization."