Early on Monday we heard, via a Benny Fresh tweet of a report co-authored by him and Shi Davidi, that left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau was on his way to join the Jays in Oakland.
Jays fans were left wondering, would Devon Travis be hitting the disabled list because of the hand injury that required he go for x-rays on Sunday? Would Russell Martin finally succumb to his recent neck troubles and land on the DL? Would ineffective lefty J.P. Howell finally be sent to the glue factory?
None of the above, it turns out! Howell has been spared the indignity of an early-June release, as he’s been placed on the disabled list by the club, according to a tweet from Davidi.
Howell has faced just 44 batters as a Blue Jay, striking out just five of them while walking seven and allowing seven hits. In 8.2 innings he’s allowed eight runs, all earned. It’s… it’s been ugly.
And while I don’t want to make too much light of what might be a genuine problem with his arm, uh… clearly this is a DL trip for a bout of “left arm shittiness.” Clearly.
It’s a shame, too, as there was quite a bit of promise to the Howell when the Jays picked him up on the cheap this winter. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
What I can see about the previous three seasons looks more than alright. Lefty hitters put up just a .181/.265/.226 slash line against him in 320 plate appearances from 2013 through 2015, which led to him having a tidy 2.02 ERA in the split. And he’s generally been alright against right-handers, too.
We can’t discount his 2016 season entirely, but it was smoother for longer than his numbers imply. Blow-ups for four and two runs apiece in the Dodgers’ first series of the season bloated his ERA. For four months from the end of that series until an ugly stretch in mid-August he posted a 1.89 ERA, allowing 27 hits and 14 walks over 38 innings, with 31 strikeouts.
Granted, those are some seriously arbitrary endpoints. But the point is: this is a guy who should be able to get left-handers out a whole bunch for the Jays, even if he’s obviously not going to be especially spectacular doing so.
Yeah… so far, not so much.
Oh, but hey, there’s also some better news! Though Travis isn’t in the lineup tonight, Russell Martin, who had missed the previous three games with a neck issue, is! He’ll be batting seventh and suiting up behind the plate.
So… there’s that.
There’s also the fact that not having the spectre of Howell possibly coming out of the bullpen hanging over this team for a spell miiiiiiiight actually be considered good news, too. Good news all around, I guess!
Late addition: EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS:
Sanchez played catch today and will do it again over next couple of days. Then a bullpen and rehab assignment. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) June 5, 2017