DUNEDIN, FLA.—The injury bug passed from the Blue Jays relievers to one of the team’s starters on Saturday, when Toronto announced Ryan Borucki will start the season on the injured list due to a left elbow issue.
Borucki, 24, took himself out of a minor league game on Wednesday with discomfort in the joint and will miss at least one start because of the injury.
Ryan Borucki, above, had a surgery to clean up the elbow in 2015, which limited him to three minor-league appearances that season. (Adam Glanzman / GETTY IMAGES)
The southpaw joins a growing list of injured pitchers, including relievers Ryan Tepera (elbow inflammation), John Axford (stress reaction in his elbow) and David Phelps (Tommy John). The Jays will also be without eventual starter Clay Buchholz, who only signed with the Toronto in early March and will still be working to get stretched out come Opening Day.
Borucki is no stranger to elbow injuries. He missed the entire 2013 season after Tommy John surgery. He had a surgery to clean up the elbow in 2015, which limited him to three minor-league appearances that season.
“Just precautionary for me,” Borucki said of his decision to leave the game. “I’ve had two elbow surgeries so I don’t really mess around with my elbow. Just decided to shut it down, getting reevaluated on Monday and go from there.”
“From what I know so far, it looks like it’s going to be one start,” he said. “But we’ll go from there. You never know. We’re not going to rush him for sure.”
Borucki said he felt great all season, before the discomfort in his elbow began after throwing a fastball mid-week. It’s a familiar sensation, he said: the last time he felt it, recovery was a simple matter of being shut down for a week.
He didn’t go for an MRI, Borucki said, because he has become capable of telling the difference between good pain and bad pain. He is confident he will only have to miss on start.
“Really it was nothing to really worry about,” he said.
Borucki was one of Toronto’s more reliable starters in his rookie season in 2018, posting a 3.87 ERA in 17 starts after he debuted in late June. He recently likened breaking camp with the big league for the first time, being with the team for his first Opening Day, to the excitement of making his MLB debut.
It will be disappointing for Borucki to miss out on next Thursday’s festivities, but he knows he needs to play the long game.
“It’s a long season so I don’t really want to push anything right now,” he said.
Trent Thornton, Sean Reid-Foley, Sam Gaviglio and Thomas Pannone are the candidates to replace Borucki, who was initially scheduled to start the fourth game of the season against the Detroit Tigers. Clayton Richard could now take that spot in the rotation, behind Marcus Stroman, Matt Shoemaker and Aaron Sanchez, but Montoyo is planning on playing the match ups when it comes to the order.
The Jays will get looks at each of their contenders for Borucki’s job this week: Thornton is starting at the New York Yankees in a split squad game on Saturday; Sean Reid-Foley will take the ball in Toronto’s final Grapefruit League game at the Detroit Tigers on Sunday; and Gaviglio and Pannone will pitch in Montreal on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, against the Milwaukee Brewers.
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