토스카지노The Toronto Blue Jays, who have been running a six-man rotation, have settled on a five-man roster that will revert to a five-man rotation in the near future.
The “youngest” of the starters, Alec Manoa, has been sent back down to the minors. Toronto designated Manoa for assignment to Triple-A on Wednesday and recalled 24-year-old right-hander Hagan Danner. This is Hagan’s first major league call-up.
While Manoa’s removal from the starting rotation was somewhat expected, it was surprising to see him sent back to the minors. This could be interpreted as a call back to the starting rotation.
Manoa took the loss against the Cleveland Indians on the 11th, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks in four innings. After struggling through April and May, Manoa went to camp in Florida for the month of June for a “complete overhaul”. Ryu Hyun-jin, who was in the midst of a late-season rehabilitation, was also training with him at the time.
Manoa appeared to be back on track when he returned on 8 June and pitched six innings of five-hit, one-run ball against the Detroit Tigers, but a string of erratic outings since then has left him in contention for the rotation.
Toronto has been running a six-man rotation during a 17-game, no-off-day stretch that began on the 29th of last month and ends on the 14th of this month. After that, one of the starters would have to be removed, and with Manoa’s inability to break out of his slump, the staff had little choice.
Yusei Kikuchi has been remarkably steady this season. AFP
Kevin Gausman, the highest paid of Toronto’s starters at $21 million this year, is the de facto ace. AFP
Behind the scenes is the steady pitching of Ryu Hyun-jin, who has settled in quickly after returning from the Tommy John surgery.
Ryu returned from a 14-month rehabilitation stint on the second day of his return, giving up four runs on nine hits in five innings against the Baltimore Orioles. It was considered a good first game as he needed to adjust. He quickly earned the trust of the staff with a four-hit shutout in Cleveland on 8 August. He was hit in the knee by a hard-hit ball and had to leave the game with a bruised knee, but after the game, praise for the return of “Vintage Ryu” continued.
The speculation that Manoa would be dropped from the rotation in favour of Ryu naturally flowed. Toronto has three off days on the 15th, 18th, and 22nd. It’s a schedule that will force them to return to a five-man rotation.
Toronto manager John Schneider told MLB.com, “Given our schedule and the situation with our other starters, it was a difficult decision (to remove Manoa). Manoa has been our opening day starter this season. Something like today is unfortunate for anybody, and we had to have a difficult conversation with him.”
Manoa finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting last year with a 16-7 record, 2.24 ERA and 180 strikeouts. A bona fide ace, he was expected to continue to improve this season and challenge for the award. However, he struggled in the opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving up five runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, and continued his “fizzle” pattern.
In 19 games this season, he was 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA, and since his return, he’s 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in six games and 29⅓ innings pitched.
Chris Bassett has been relatively consistent in a Toronto uniform this season. USATODAYYahoo!
Of course, Manoa will be the first option if Toronto goes with another six-man rotation, or if any of the existing starters break down. “It’s all about command and the strike zone,” Schneider said. When he’s working the strike zone, he’s good. When he walked a lot of guys and threw a lot of pitches, it was tough to win. Things we’ve been telling him all season.”
As a result, Toronto’s rotation will be Chris Bassett ($19 million), Hyun-jin Ryu ($20 million), Yusei Kikuchi ($10 million), Kevin Gausman ($21 million), and Jose Berrios ($15.71 million) starting on the 13th against the Chicago Cubs. Coincidentally, all five are highly paid, with long-term contracts of three years or more. Manoa, in his second year as a full-time major leaguer, is making $745,000 this year.
MLB.com writes, “If Kikuchi had shown signs of decline this year, he would have been relegated to the bullpen. But he has become Toronto’s most exciting pitcher this season. It’s a lesson in the importance of confidence,’ and ‘A knee injury in Cleveland could have knocked him out of the rotation, but he was diagnosed with a simple bruise and will start against the Cubs on Thursday.