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Blue Jays – Yariel Rodríguez heads to the IL with a back injury; Zach Pop recalled

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Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
1 month ago
According to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, Blue Jays right-hander Yariel Rodríguez was dealing with back soreness following his outing yesterday against the Kansas City Royals and the organization has just announced that the Cuban product will be heading to the 15-day IL with thoracic spine inflammation. Reliever Zach Pop has been called up from Buffalo to take his place on the roster.
Earlier this season, Rodríguez was dealing with similar back spasms that delayed his ramp-up with the Blue Jays during Spring Training. The 27-year-old started the campaign in Buffalo and after two starts, joined the Jays in early April and has been posting solid results through the month.
Through four starts, Rodríguez owns a 4.11 ERA through 15 1/3 innings, with the Blue Jays limiting his pitch counts considering he did not pitch competitively last year (outside of the World Baseball Classic). Rodríguez owns a 1.761 WHIP and has allowed seven earned runs compared to eight walks and 16 strikeouts in his first season with Toronto, authoring a 4.7 BB/9 and a 9.4 K/9 while carrying a 64% strike rate. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a single contest this year while being limited to 4 innings or fewer.
In his place, the Jays have called upon Brampton, Ontario product Zach Pop from triple-A, one of the last cuts this past spring for the Blue Jays bullpen. In Buffalo, Pop owns a 1.86 ERA through 9 2/3 innings while racking up three saves with the herd. He has allowed just two earned runs and five walks compared to 11 strikeouts and has been one of the more reliable arms down in the Bisons bullpen.
Losing Rodríguez is a tough move for a Blue Jays squad that does not possess a ton of pitching depth at the moment outside of a struggling Alek Manoah in triple-A.
The right-hander is slated to make the start tonight against the Indianapolis Indians as he looks to right the track against one of the game’s top pitchers, Paul Skenes. Outside of Manoah, the starting depth is thin with Bowden Francis and top prospect Ricky Tiedemann currently on the IL, although the team can call upon veteran Paolo Espino as well if needed (he’s on the 40-man).
The injury to Rodríguez could open the door for a Manoah return sooner than later should the 6-foot-6 right-hander post a solid line tonight against Indianapolis.
Alternatively, the Jays have off-days this Thursday, next Monday (May 6th), and next Thursday (May 9th) and could do without a fifth starter over the next two weeks with some rotation juggling should the team wish to carry an extra bullpen arm instead.

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