Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah unlikely to pitch again in 2023
Photo credit:Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
By Thomas Hall2 months ago
Alek Manoah’s 2023 season appears to have come to a disappointing end.
The Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day starter hasn’t thrown off a mound in just over a month after being optioned to triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 11. With only two weeks remaining in the Bisons’ schedule, the 25-year-old hurler is unlikely to pitch again this season, sources told Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.
Nicholson-Smith also reported that Manoah underwent numerous tests on his knee, back and right quad last week to determine if any “wear and tear” had caused the right-hander’s poor results. But no structural damage was found, although lingering physical complications have reportedly spearheaded the decision to focus on recovery and rest while looking ahead to 2024.
There is still an outside chance that Manoah will return to a mound before the regular season concludes. For now, though, most expect him to be unavailable down the stretch.
Manoah currently resides on the temporarily inactive list as he continues working out in Buffalo.
If the Blue Jays were to require a sixth starter, Bowden Francis would likely receive the nod out of the gate as part of a bullpen game. The 27-year-old righty owns a 1.69 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 32 innings over 17 big-league appearances this season.
Toronto has assigned Manoah to the minors twice this season, once on June 6 and the other following an ineffective outing in Cleveland last month. He returned to the majors on July 7 after making mechanical adjustments at the organization’s Player Development Complex and a pair of minor-league starts. But he struggled to a 4.91 ERA in six starts with the Blue Jays, leading to his most recent demotion.
It has been a major fall from grace for Manoah, who finished third in American League Cy Young voting a season ago, courtesy of a 2.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts over 196.2 innings, worth a career-high 4.1 fWAR. The 2022 All-Star also completed five innings or more in all 31 of his starts.
Not only has this set him back heading into next season, but it also cost the 6-foot-6 hurler Super Two eligibility and prevents him from becoming arbitration-eligible until after the 2024 campaign.
Manoah earned a 5.87 ERA and 6.02 FIP in 87.1 innings across 19 starts with Toronto this season, worth minus-0.4 fWAR.
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