Battered and Broken Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays came into this season with high expectations. Buzz surrounding the team extended well beyond the Toronto media; many baseball purveyors thought that the Blue Jays brass had built a solid core of young players and were now in a position to take a run at the playoffs. Unfortunately, things have not come to pass as anticipated, and a large contributing factor to this has been the injuries the team has been plagued with.

The Blue Jays came into the season relatively healthy, but there were cracks in the structural integrity of the team from day one. Key pitchers that were part of the playoff equation were out early – Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan, Sergio Santos and Jesse Litsch. While Morrow has returned since being injured at the start of the season (and pitched quite beautifully at that), his stay on the active roster was short-lived and he now finds himself blacklisted on the 60-day DL – which really means that we won’t be seeing him for the rest of the season.

The pitching woes don’t stop there. Dustin McGowan is still out and Jesse Litsch has been a ghost this season. Kyle Drabek has fallen prey to tommy-john, and his hiatus might extend beyond this year. ¬†Drew Hutchison, who was a surprise fill in for the injured starting rotation, saw his hopes of cementing a permanent spot for the season evaporate with an elbow injury. As surprising as it may sound we’re not done with the pitching problems, as Luis Perez has also landed on the 60-day DL.

If the beaten down pitching staff wasnt enough of a comedy act, the hitting squad hasn’t been immune to injuries either. Most significant to this point, earlier in the week the Jays learned they would be without All-Star, Jose Bautista, due to an injured wrist tendon. To put the icing on the cake, stand-out Jays rookie, Brett Lawrie, injured his right calf and will be day-to-day.

Can the Blue Jays rebound from all of these injuries and turn their season around? The prospects at this stage are not promising. While Toronto is only whisper from a wildcard playoff spot, without a healthy team they cannot realistically hope to make a serious late-season charge.

Injuries to Bautista and Lawrie aside, having a pitching rotation that is in “limbo” on a daily basis is a very important missing ingredient. I can’t help but think that Ricky Romero’s less than inspring performance as of late may be the result of total demoralization at watching his comrades fall one at a time; thinking to himself “could I be next?”. For the sake of the Jays, I hope Romero stays healthy – as he is all they really have in their starting rotation right now.

The bright side in this whole ordeal is that we may start to see some players who wouldn’t normally get a chance shine. Hutchison, as aforementioned, is one. Villeanuva is another player who has shown some flashes of brilliance. Hopefully these players can keep the gears greased until the team is healthy again. ¬†1992 and 1993 were a long time ago and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jays back in playoff contention again.

… and that is the last word.

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