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Blue Jays Notes: Ross Atkins on Alek Manoah, Danny Jansen nearing return, Zach Thompson clears waivers

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Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t looking for a quick and easy fix when it comes to Alek Manoah.
The team’s Opening Day starter looked nothing like the pitcher who finished third in American League Cy Young voting last year through his first handful of starts this season. The big righty saw his ERA balloon to 6.36 after being lit up for six earned runs by the Houston Astros on Monday and he was subsequently demoted to the Florida Complex League (Low-A).
This isn’t the type of demotion in which a struggling player goes to find their groove against Triple-A competition for a week or so. This is a young player heading down to the team’s state-of-the-art complex in Dunedin to start from scratch.
General manager Ross Atkins spoke to the media on Thursday and provided an update about Manoah, noting that the 25-year-old will work to eliminate some new “learned patterns” in his delivery. Atkins didn’t put a timeline on Manoah’s return but said that he’ll be in Dunedin for “a few turns around the rotation.”
“It’s such a difficult thing to truly know,” Atkins said. “If we knew the answer to that, we wouldn’t lose baseball games ever.”
It’s difficult to say specifically what’s gone wrong for Manoah. There had been plenty of talk that his ERA since breaking into the Major Leagues was better than what his peripheral numbers indicated it should be, but nobody saw Manoah regressing this much.
Over at TSN, former MLB general manager Steve Phillips broke down what he saw from Manoah this season and what needs to be changed in order for him to return to the pitcher he was during his first two seasons in the league…
“Physically, Manoah needs to free up his upper body. I am sure the Jays will have one of their performance coaches with him in Florida focusing on diet, flexibility, range of motion, balance and stamina. He has looked thicker in his chest and shoulders this season (likely from weight training) which seemed to limit his arm speed. He needs to free up his arm to throw free and easy again.
Finally, he has gotten out of sync with his pitching mechanics. He wasn’t maintaining his balance point over the pitching rubber and was drifting toward home plate. This made his arm drag behind and flatten out all of his pitches. That could be because he was trying to overexert to throw harder or to generate arm speed. The Jays need to gain an understanding of what is going on in Alek’s head to get him to fix his mechanics. Emotions, overtrying, doubt, fear and health can all cause a pitcher to mess up his mechanics. Understanding the why will make fixing the mechanics easier.”

Quick notes…

  • Zach Thompson cleared through waivers and has been assigned to the Triple-A Bisons. Thompson was designated for assignment when the Blue Jays added Bowden Francis to the 40-man roster earlier this week. The Blue Jays acquired Thompson from the Pittsburgh Pirates over the off-season in exchange for Chavez Young. He has a 6.89 ERA over 11 starts with Buffalo this season.
  • Danny Jansen is expected to be back with the Blue Jays soon. The catcher was placed on the 10-day Injured List back on May 25 because of a left groin strain that was suffered during Toronto’s series in Tampa Bay with the Rays a couple of weeks ago. The plan is for Jansen to play in some rehab games with Triple-A Buffalo and then join the Blue Jays on the road in Baltimore next week.

 

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