News and Notes: Prospect Arjun Nimmala hit a home run in the backfields, Danny Jansen is swinging the bat again, and more!

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
20 days ago
The Toronto Blue Jays season may have started, but that doesn’t mean that News and Notes ever stops.
In this edition, we’ll look at news surrounding their ace, as well as an injury update on a power-hitting catcher. Moreover, what about the health of their 2022 ace? Well, continue reading to figure it out!

Kevin Gausman’s start date still undecided

According to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, Toronto’s ace Kevin Gausman threw a bullpen session on Friday, but there’ll be no decision regarding what day he’ll start.
Gausman only made one start in Grapefruit League action, striking out seven batters in three innings pitched. This is because he was dealing with a shoulder injury that kept him out until the final day of Spring Training.
It’s not a hot take to say that the Blue Jays need Gausman to be healthy as soon as possible. Last season, the 33-year-old posted a 3.16 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in 185 innings pitched, along with a 31.1 K% and a 7.2 BB% to finish third in American League Cy Young voting.

Danny Jansen started swinging the bat again

For what feels like the 1,000th time, Danny Jansen was hit by a pitch which fractured something in his hand, this time being his right pisiform, some bone near the wrist. I’m a sports writer, not a doctor.
Well, according to Shi Davidi, he was swinging the bat and long-tossing on Friday, a good sign that he should be back sooner rather than later.
Jansen can return to the Blue Jays roster on April 4, as he was retroactively placed on the 10-day injured list on March 25. Those 10 or more days will hurt the Jays, as Jansen has been one of their most reliable power hitters the past two seasons. Last year, he slashed .228/.312/.474 with a career-high 17 homers in just 301 plate appearances.
In 2022, he hit 15 home runs in 248 plate appearances, giving him a 141 wRC+ which was the highest among batters with more than 200 plate appearances that season on the Jays. He’s a big loss, and even though he’s eligible to come off the injured list on April 4, it’s unknown when he’ll be ready to go.

Alek Manoah to throw side session on Sunday

It’s been a rough year for Manoah. The 26-year-old struggled mightily in 2023 after finishing third in American League Cy Young voting in 2022. In Spring Training, he injured his shoulder in a side session after his first start, and missed the rest of Spring Training.
On Friday evening, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reported that he’ll throw his next side session on Sunday.
Like Jansen, it’s unknown when Manoah will pitch in a game again. He’ll have to ramp back up to a starter’s workload, so it wouldn’t be all too surprising if he’s optioned to Buffalo to build back up. Hopefully, he can pitch well in the minor leagues and carry that over to the big leagues.

Arjun Nimmala hit a home run in the backfields

The backfields, not the Backrooms. Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes recorded a video of the Blue Jays’ 2023 first-round pick hitting an oppo-taco.
This wasn’t the first time us fans have been able to see Arjun Nimmala’s sweet swing, as he went deep in his first plate appearance of Spring Training.
Nimmala was drafted with the 20th overall pick in the 2023 draft, a great haul for the Blue Jays as he was ranked in the early 10’s as the best draft prospect available. At only 17, Nimmala made his professional debut in the Florida Complex League, where he slashed .200/.500/.320 with a double and a triple for a 148 wRC+.
While he didn’t display his significant raw power, he showed an improvement in his approach as he had a 35 BB% in that small sample size, which is arguably more important than power. Look no further than Orelvis Martinez as an example.
It’s going to be fun to watch this kid develop into a very good shortstop with power.

Ernie Clement a mainstay in the Jays’ lineup?

I’ve written about Ernie Clement’s power surge a few times, including the most recent article that you can read here. Well, TSN’s Scott Mitchell spoke with a Blue Jays staffer who said that by June, Clement will be “impossible” to take out of the lineup. Moreover, the staffer predicted Clement would hit double digit home runs and hit .280, a bold take, but I like bold takes.
It’s quite impressive Clement has gone from a utility player who rarely hit a home run, to adding power in 2023 and becoming a candidate to be an everyday player. It helps that Clement can play almost every position, as he played right and left field, as well as shortstop, third base, second base, and first base last season. Moreover, he’s a good defender at both shortstop and third base.
It’s a bold take, but there’s some merit there.

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


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