Right-handed pitcher Nate Pearson returned to the high minors on Thursday afternoon.
The 26-year-old pitched a scoreless inning for the Buffalo Bisons, inducing a ground ball out and fly ball out that was caught at the warning track. Pearson also struck out a batter with a nasty slider. Not just that, but the Bisons’ broadcast noted that he touched 100 mph with his fastball.
Here's Nate Pearson's strikeout from today!
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) September 8, 2022
Pearson started the 2022 season on the 60-day injured list, as he had contracted mononucleosis during spring training. He was on his way to making a comeback, but he was pulled out of his June 19th start due to a lat issue.
Per Baseball Savant data from his first rehab appearance with the Dunedin Blue Jays on September 4th, Pearson averaged 96.9 mph on his fastball but reached 98.9 mph.
It’s likely that the former top prospect continues his rehab appearance with the Buffalo Bisons. In seven innings pitched with the Blue Jays Triple A affiliate, he has posted a 2.57 ERA with a 40 K% and an 8 BB%.
If he continues to pitch well in his rehab appearance, it’s possible that he may see some action with the big league club down the stretch. Having a reliever that can throw 100 mph with ease while having plus breaking stuff would be of big help to the Blue Jays bullpen.
The question is, who would Nate Pearson replace? Over the past two months, the Blue Jays bullpen has been nails, and the only conceivable pitchers that could be optioned are either Yusei Kikuchi or Zach Pop.
Furthermore, a player on the 40-man roster would have to be designated for assignment as Nate Pearson currently isn’t on the 40-man due to being on the 60-day IL.
Either way, a healthy Pearson is a great depth reliever to have for a team hoping to make a run in the postseason.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D