Blue Jays remain undecided on fifth starter plans, recalling Manoah from triple-A is under consideration

Photo credit:Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
1 month ago
The Toronto Blue Jays are considering several options as they look to fill the final spot in their starting rotation, vacated by the injured Yariel Rodriguez (spine inflammation), and among the potential possibilities includes activating right-hander Alek Manoah from triple-A Buffalo.
Manoah, who struck out 12 — tying a career-high — in his latest rehab outing with the Bisons on Tuesday, appears to be a viable candidate to start Sunday’s series finale in Washington at Nationals Park. But the club is still evaluating its options, which may include opting for a bullpen day or recalling a veteran arm like Paolo Espino, manager John Schneider told reporters Wednesday.
With three upcoming off days (May 2, 6, 9), the Blue Jays could also skip the turn previously held by Rodriguez and roll with four starters for the time being.
In theory, Toronto wouldn’t require a fifth starter until likely May 14, forcing a four-man starting rotation to operate without the advantage of extra rest. However, they did precisely that last June following Manoah’s first of two minor-league demotions.
The 26-year-old starter struggled horribly in his first and only start of spring training, surrendering four runs on three hits, one walk and three hit-by-pitches over just an inning and two-thirds before being shut down by a shoulder injury. And the results weren’t much better upon starting his rehab assignment earlier this month.
Entering Tuesday’s affair, Manoah had one encouraging outing sandwiched between a pair of rough ones, where he allowed a combined 10 runs — all earned — on 15 hits (two home runs) and five walks while striking out nine in 6.1 innings. But he seemed to have a much-improved feel for his pitches in his latest start following a productive bullpen session at Rogers Centre over the weekend.
Along with fanning 12 batters, the 2022 All-Star displayed quality command of his sinker and slider, leading to 19 whiffs on 39 swings (49 per cent), 13 of which came via his breaking ball. In the end, he gave up just a single run via a solo shot in his final inning of work, tossing six frames of one-run ball in arguably his most impressive performance since 2022.
Manoah’s 30-day rehab clock expires on May 6. At which point, assuming he’s healthy, the Blue Jays must activate him to the major-league roster or option him to remain with the Bisons.
With Rodriguez, Bowden Francis and top pitching prospect Ricky Tiedemann all on the IL, along with Mitch White — traded to the San Francisco Giants earlier this month — no longer in the organization, Toronto’s starting pitching depth is currently running pretty thin. As such, the front office has been scouring the market for a dispensable arm in recent weeks, as TSN’s Scott Mitchell reports.
It is worth noting the Blue Jays have one open spot on their 40-man roster, which may prove valuable if management were to acquire a veteran starter via trade or a waiver claim.
Toronto will conclude a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday before beginning a brief five-game road trip with stops in Washington and Philadelphia, starting with Friday’s series opener against the Nationals.

Check out these posts...