News and Notes: Bowden Francis will join the rotation, Kevin Gausman to pitch Monday, and more!

Photo credit:Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
Who doesn’t love some News and Notes.
This article will basically look at what’s happening with pitchers, as we’ll look at a pitcher who was named to the rotation, a starter who could pitch soon, as well as updates on two injured relievers.
Let’s dig in.

Bowden Francis has earned a spot in the rotation

According to multiple sources, John Schneider has told Bowden Francis that he’s made the Blue Jays rotation.
After a rough season in 2022 where he posted a 6.59 ERA and a 6.02 FIP in 98.1 innings pitched with the Buffalo Bisons, Francis had a tremendous 2023 season. In Triple-A, he had a 2.67 ERA and a 4.24 FIP in 27 innings pitched, which included a 37.2 K% and a 6.2 BB%. He was even better for Toronto, as he had a 1.73 ERA and a 3.86 FIP in 36.1 innings pitched while working in a long-man role.
The goal the Jays set for Francis, who wanted to start this season, is to maintain velocity while going deep in a game, and add a pitch to throw to left-handed batters. He did both of these in Spring Training, adding a splitter that looks pretty good, and went six innings earlier in Spring Training.
Altogether, Francis has a 3.38 ERA and a 3.79 FIP in 18.2 innings pitched, along with a 20 K% and a 5.3 BB%. After the six inning game, Francis dropped his ERA all the way down to 1.93, but was hit hard in his last outing on Wednesday where he gave up four earned runs in four innings of work.
Still, the emergence of Francis is a great sign and it couldn’t have happened to a better person.

Kevin Gausman to pitch Monday

According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Kevin Gausman will throw in his first game on Monday. However, it’s still unknown whether it’ll be in Grapefruit League action or against minor leaguers.
I won’t lie, it is worrisome that Gausman has yet to pitch in a Spring Training game, as it was expected that he’d be the Opening Day starter. Last season, he posted a 3.16 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in 185 innings pitched, including a 31.1 K% and a 7.2 BB%.
He was so good in fact, that Gausman finished third in American League Cy Young voting, the fourth-consecutive season a Blue Jay was nominated for the award. Hopefully, Gausman only misses a starter or two as the Jays are significantly weaker without him in the lineup.

Alek Manoah to throw a live bullpen Friday

Davidi also reported that Alek Manoah will throw a live bullpen on Friday.
It’s been a rough year for Manoah. After finishing third in AL Cy Young voting in 2022, Manoah posted a 5.87 ERA and a 6.01 FIP in 87.1 innings pitched last season, going from being the Blue Jays ace to being optioned to the Florida Complex League.
To make matters worse, he got in shape and was throwing a lot harder in Spring Training compared to last season. However, he allowed four earned runs in just 1.2 innings pitched in his first start, and hasn’t pitched since due to a shoulder injury.
Manoah’s too good to pitch like he did last season for the rest of his career, but it could be a long road back.

Erik Swanson getting ready

According to Davidi, Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson played catch on Thursday and “felt great” per Jays manager John Schneider.
Swanson is a big part of the Jays bullpen, as he’s used in a setup role. Last season, he had a 2.97 ERA and a 3.51 FIP in 66.2 innings pitched, along with a 28.6 K% and an 8 BB%. He hasn’t pitched much for a variety of reasons including this injury.
In fact, Swanson has pitched just 1.2 innings where he has a 5.40 ERA and a 6.13 FIP, along with a 14.3 K% and a 28.6 BB%. Hopefully, it doesn’t take him too long to get ready for the season.

Jordan Romano could resume throwing in a day or two

Swanson and Jordan Romano’s injuries were announced at the same time, but it appears that Romano is just a little bit further behind. According to Davidi, Romano should be ready in a day or two to continue to throw.
It’s not great that the setup man and closer are both dealing with injuries a week before the regular season. Last season, Romano had a 2.90 ERA and a 3.46 FIP in 59 innings pitched. Oddly enough, the ERA and FIP were the worst totals since becoming the Jays full-time closer.
However, the Canadian righty was tied for the fifth-most saves in the big leagues last season, picking up 36 total saves in 40 attempts. He’s one of the best closers in the game, and like Swanson and Romano, hopefully he’s not out for long.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


Check out these posts...