HomeTrending MLB NewsBlue Jays' Kevin Gausman provides update on throwing shoulder

Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman provides update on throwing shoulder

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Kevin Gausman is one of a few Blue Jays pitchers who has been a bit behind this spring. The Jays scratched him from a throwing session on Monday as he dealt with “general fatigue” in his throwing shoulder. While any mention of shoulder discomfort for a pitcher of Gausman’s caliber will raise some concern, it doesn’t appear to be an issue that’ll carry into the year.

Manager John Schneider said on Thursday the Jays were hopeful to have their ace working off a mound again by next Monday. In an appearance on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio with Steve Phillips and Xavier Scruggs this afternoon, Gausman downplayed any concern. “Just had to slow it down a little bit and not jump in to facing hitters right away, but I’ll be ready for the regular season,” he said.

There are just under three weeks until Opening Day. Gausman, if healthy and fully built up, would get the call for that tilt against the Rays. The Jays certainly aren’t going to force the issue for a largely symbolic honor, so they could elect to hold off his season debut until their series opener against the Astros on April 1.

That would likely leave the Opening Day assignment to Chris Bassitt. He and Gausman will be joined in the season-opening starting five by José Berríosand Yusei Kikuchi. The Jays expected Alek Manoah to secure the fifth starter role entering camp, but he has been delayed by shoulder soreness. If he’s not available to start the season, righty Bowden Francis seems the likeliest candidate to step in. Francis pitched to a 1.73 ERA over 20 MLB appearances in long relief last year. He has never started a big league game but reached as many as four innings out of the bullpen. Francis has started two of three spring appearances, working eight frames of three-run ball with 10 strikeouts.

Mitch White must also make the MLB roster or be offered to other teams, as he has exhausted his minor league options. He has worked in a swing capacity at the big league level and owns an ERA just under 5.00 over 161 1/3 MLB innings. Unlike Francis, White is off to a rocky start to the spring. He has walked six with just a pair of strikeouts in six innings spanning three relief outings. He’d probably be ticketed for long relief if Francis grabs the fifth starter spot.

Offseason signee Yariel Rodríguez and top prospect Ricky Tiedemann could factor into the rotation mix over the course of the year. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet wrote last night that neither player is viewed as a realistic candidate to break camp, however. Rodríguez sat out last season after pitching in the World Baseball Classic as he waited for MLB to declare him a free agent. Tiedemann had a pair of stints on the minor league injured list and was limited to 44 innings over 15 appearances across four levels.

The Jays will need to be cautious with the workloads for both pitchers, an easier task if they open the year in Triple-A. They’ve each been a little behind in camp. Rodríguez has battled back spasms and Tiedemann was delayed by leg inflammation. Neither injury is serious and both pitchers should soon see game action.

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