The Toronto Blue Jays, who have been running a six-man rotation, have finalized a five-man roster that will soon revert to a five-man rotation.메이저사이트
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 called up 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. It could be interpreted as a reminder to get back into the starting rotation.
Manoa took the loss on April 11 against the Cleveland Indians, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks in four innings. After struggling through April and May, Manoa was sent down to camp in Florida for the month of June to undergo 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 June 8 and pitched six innings of five-hit, one-run ball against the Detroit Tigers, but a string of erratic outings followed and he was labeled a candidate for the rotation.
Toronto has been running a six-man rotation during a 17-game, no-off-day stretch from April 29 to May 14. After that, one of the starters would have to be removed, and Manoa’s inability to break out of his slump made the decision a no-brainer for the staff.
Behind the scenes is the steady pitching of Hyun-jin Ryu, who has adjusted quickly to his return from the Tommy John surgery.
Ryu returned from a 14-month rehabilitation on Feb. 2 and looked shaky against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings. 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 April 8. He was hit in the knee by a hard-hit ball and had to leave the game with a bruised knee, but afterward, praise for the return of “Vintage Ryu” continued.
The speculation that Manoa would be dropped from the rotation in favor 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. The bona fide ace 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 then repeated his “fizzle” pattern.
After going 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA in 19 games this season, he was 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in six starts and 29⅓ innings pitched since his return.
Of course, if Toronto goes with a six-man rotation again, or if any of the existing starters break down, Manoa is the first option. “It’s all about command and the strike zone,” Schneider said. When he’s working the strike zone, he’s good. When he was walking a lot of guys and throwing a lot of pitches, he was tough to beat. Those are things we’ve been telling him all season.”
Starting on April 13 against the Cubs, Toronto’s rotation will consist of Chris Bassett ($19 million), Hyun-jin Ryu ($20 million), Yusei Kikuchi ($10 million), Kevin Gausman ($21 million), and Jose Berrios ($15.71 million). Coincidentally, all five are highly paid, with long-term contracts of three years or more. Manoa, in his second year of full-time major league play, is making $745,000 this year.
MLB.com writes, “If Kikuchi had shown signs of decline again this year, he would have been relegated to the bullpen. But he’s become Toronto’s most exciting pitcher this season. It’s a testament to 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 April 14.