Blue Jays starting pitcher Clay Buchholz will reportedly be scratched from his scheduled start against the White Sox on Friday because of injury.
The last-minute change means manager Charlie Montoyo will employ an opener for the first time this season, with reliever Daniel Hudson set to be on the mound for first pitch at Rogers Centre, according to Sportsnet.
The exact injury and severity of Buchholz’s issue was unclear as of Friday morning, but the 34-year-old veteran is no stranger to the sidelines. He missed almost all of the 2017 season with a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm and finished the 2018 season on the injured list with a right elbow flexor strain. That issue affected spring training for Buchholz, who signed a one-year, $3-million US deal with the Jays in March, forcing him to miss the start of the season.
Buchholz has started five games for Toronto since he was activated on April 13, going 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA.
The issues complicate an already delicate balancing act for the Jays when it comes to their ailing rotation. Toronto has effectively been relying on a four-man rotation since Matt Shoemaker went down with a season-ending ACL tear late last month, with Clayton Richard also out with a knee issue. While the Jays wouldn’t have needed a fifth starter until May 18, Montoyo has already mulled over the possibility of adding another pitcher to the rotation to give the healthy members of his staff — Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Trent Thornton — an extra day of rest.
Article Continued Below
Toronto will now likely have to add another pitcher or two to the mix, be it in the rotation or in the bullpen. The Jays could open a spot on their 40-man roster by placing Shoemaker on the 60-day injured list. Calling Thomas Pannone back up from Triple-A Buffalo in an option, as is moving former starter Sam Gaviglio, with his 1.80 ERA this season, into the rotation, though Montoyo said earlier this week that he would prefer to leave the 28-year-old in the bullpen, where he has thrived this season.
On thing is for sure: more moves will come before first pitch Friday evening. And the desperation for starting pitching in clear in Montoyo’s use of an opener. The former coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, who led the charge when it comes to employing an opener last season, has been plagued by questions about featuring a reliever at the start of games since he joined Toronto last October. Montoyo has always maintained that he would only use the strategy if he didn’t have healthy starters available.
Hudson, 32, has started 60 career games in his decade-long big-league career, putting up a 3.62 ERA in 378 innings. He is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 17 relief outings for the Jays this season.
Laura Armstrong is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy
Published at Fri, 10 May 2019 16:38:07 +0000