More Injuries! Julian Merryweather to the 10-day IL, Ross Stripling scratched with forearm tightness

The Blue Jays are already without, among others, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Nate Pearson, and the team was dealt another couple of blows on Wednesday morning.

Julian Merryweather is going on the 10-day Injured List with a left oblique strain. He left last night’s game after throwing just a few pitches with what the team called a hip issue. This is obviously really, really unfortunate as Merryweather has been excellent and Toronto’s bullpen is already without Tyler Chatwood. This leaves either Rafael Dolis or Jordan Romano as the closer.
Coming up in Merryweather’s place will be Anthony Castro, who the team claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers back in December. Castro has just one inning at the big-league level but pitched fairly well for the team in spring training and was in the mix to crack the team right up until the end. Castro tossed nine-and-one-third Grapefruit innings and struck out 15 batters.
David Phelps is listed as day-to-day after getting drilled by a liner last night. He won’t go on the Injured List but also won’t be available tonight.
And then there’s Ross Stripling, who was supposed to start today, but won’t …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu tosses a gem, Vlad stretches and flashes leather, Rowdy finally smashes a dinger, and the Blue Jays down the Yanks

After a frustrating loss on Monday, the Blue Jays were facing what low-key felt like a must-win game with ace Hyun Jin Ryu taking the mound. And, oh boy, he delivered.

Things worth mentioning…
For the third time this season, Ryu put together a very nice start. The bats actually showed up this time around so he was also able to earn his first win of the season. Ryu went six-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits and one walk while striking out seven. He’s allowed just four earned runs over 19 innings so far this season. It was impressive to see Ryu just carve up New York’s righty-heavy lineup, especially given the fact they saw him just a couple of weeks ago. The Yanks only managed to put 17 balls in play, and only about half of those balls were hit particularly hard. All told, it was a gem for Ryu, who had New York just totally confused and off-balance all night.

Things got sort of weird pitching-wise after Ryu left the game. David Phelps came in to finish off the seventh inning and then came out for the eighth but got drilled in the back by …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Yankees and Blue Jays, a match-up of teams looking to break out of underwhelming starts

The Blue Jays had a rough showing last week.

They lost two of three to Texas and then lost two of three to Anaheim while the fourth game in the series was rained out. They’re now 4-5 on the season, which is obviously disappointing given their impressive series win over the Yankees on opening weekend.
On a bright note, that 4-5 record isn’t quite as alarming when you look at how the Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees, two key teams the Blue Jays are fighting with this season, are doing so far.
How they’re doing…
Like the Blue Jays, the Yankees own a 4-5 record on the season. After getting dropped on opening weekend, New York took two of three from the Orioles and then went into Tampa Bay and lost two of three to the Rays.
The struggle for the Yankees thus far, surprisingly, has been their lineup. New York is averaging 4.22 runs-per-game, which is slightly below league average. The Yankees boasted the fourth-best offence in baseball last season despite a wealth of injuries to important players, so seeing them struggling with a healthy lineup isn’t really what you expect to see.
Some ugly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why is Teoscar Hernández Striking out so much?

The Blue Jays record of 3-4 feels a little disappointing after they took two of three from the Yankees in New York to start the year. The pitching and defence which was of concern for everyone, has been solid, it’s the offense or lack thereof that has hurt them.

Blue Jays batters set a franchise record for the most strikeouts thru the first 7 games of a season (72)
They struck out 71 times thru the first 7 games of 2016.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 9, 2021

The Blue Jays aren’t quite as bad as Baltimore who lead the league with 91 strikeouts, but for a team that wants to contend they need to improve. It would be one thing if Gerrit Cole got them for 12 strikeouts in the opener, you could tip your cap to one of the best pitchers in the league. But seeing the hitters get mowed down by arms like Dane Dunning and Kyle Gibson is slightly alarming.
The biggest culprit of this is Teoscar Hernández. Hernández has struck out 14 times this season, tied with Tyler O’Neill and Miguel Sano for the league lead. Teoscar has had 29 plate appearances and has struck out in just under half of them. Hernández is …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Bisons are going to play in Trenton, New Jersey, so it looks like the Blue Jays are headed back to Buffalo

Are you ready for the Buffalo-Trenton Thunder Bisons?

The Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate will apparently be moving to Trenton, New Jersey this summer. The Trenton Thunder were previously a Double-A affiliated but they were one of the teams that got wiped out in MLB’s axing of minor-league affiliates this year.
The team will be known as the Bisons while on the road but they’ll play as the Thunder while at home. That’s kind of weird but it’ll be a nice thing for Trenton fans to see their Thunder continue to exist for another summer. The Thunder Bisons will open up their season in Trenton on May 4.
Anyways, the key part of this story is that it clearly means that the Blue Jays will be headed back to Buffalo. This comes as no surprise as we all knew the Blue Jays wouldn’t be sticking it out in Dunedin for all that long given it’s impossible to play outdoors in Florida weather once it starts to get hotter.
When are the Blue Jays headed north? We don’t know just yet. The team is committed to playing in Dunedin through May 24, which represents their first three …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Yankees get Zeuch’d, Blue Jays win the Opening Weekend series

The Blue jays rolled into Yankee Stadium and made a statement on Opening Weekend. They’re here to compete.

After splitting the first two games of the series, the Blue Jays took home the rubber match behind some solid pitching from T.J. Zeuch and a lockdown performance from the bullpen. Not too shabby given the injuries the team is dealing with right now.
Things worth mentioning…
I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous with Zeuch, a pitch-to-contact guy who doesn’t miss many bats heading into a game against the Yanks at Yankee Stadium. I figured that the Yankees’ big bats would tee off Zeuch and that this could get ugly. But, to Zuech’s credit, he generated more whiffs (four) than he usually does and he consistently pounded the zone, making life difficult for the righty-heavy Yank lineup. All told, Zeuch tossed four scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He might have been able to go five and earn a shot at the win, but I think Charlie Montoyo made the right call not to test it. Some good infield defence also helped Zeuch, highlighted by this nice turn by Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette…

Bo …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tommy Milone has been added to the Blue Jays roster

The Blue Jays have added some veteran insurance to their active roster ahead of Sunday’s series finale in New York.

The team announced today that they’ve selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone. In two corresponding moves, Joel Payamps has been optioned to the Alternate Training Site while Kirby Yates, who underwent Tommy John surgery, has officially been moved to the 60-day Injured List.
The 34-year-old Milone has been in the big leagues for 10 seasons, bouncing around to eight different teams over that span. He’s probably best remembered as a decent middle-of-the-rotation guy with the Minnesota Twins. Most recently, Milone pitched in 2020 for the Baltimore Orioles, where he posted a 3.99 ERA over six starts before getting dealt to Atlanta. He allowed 16 earned runs in just nine-and-two-thirds innings for the Braves and wasn’t a part of their post-season roster.
The play here with Milone seems to be that the Blue Jays want a lefty who can log some innings in the event that T.J. Zeuch gets drilled by the Yankees, which is most certainly a possibility. If Sunday’s game goes to shit, the team can have Milone mop things up and the bullpen will …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Atkins talks about Julian Merryweather, the closer situation, improved defence, and more!

With the Blue Jays off on Friday, Ross Atkins made rounds through the media, making appearances on both Sportsnet’s Baseball Central and TSN’s Overdrive. I already talked about his optimism around the Blue Jays and vaccines, but here are some other interesting parts…

On team defence…
Atkins very quickly went out of his way to praise the defensive effort that we saw on Thursday afternoon, noting that just about everybody on the field had what he described as an ‘above average defensive play.’
The energy in both dugouts, the intensity of it, it was a lot of fun. I was extremely happy for the players, for the coaches, for the Toronto Blue Jays fans, to have a very entertaining game out of the gates. And a lot of positive things happened. I think six of our eight defenders had well above average defensive plays — that was probably the highlight for me, watching each of those plays. Cavan had several exceptional plays. Really encouraging on the defensive front.
This is a big change of scenery from what we’ve seen from this group in the past. The 2018 and 2019 Blue Jays obviously weren’t competitive for a multitude of reasons …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Atkins “optimistic” that Blue Jays will reach 85% vaccination threshold

The Blue Jays are off today after yesterday’s incredibly thrilling opening day victory in New York, so it isn’t a very Good Friday at all!

Elsewhere, Ross Atkins provided injury-related updates for the team, in which he said George Springer could be ready for the team’s “home” opener on April 8, Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson are throwing off of mounds today, and Tom Hatch is throwing again after a brief shutdown.
He also noted that the Blue Jays will be vaccinated when they return to Florida later this month as the state is set to allow anybody over the age of 18 eligible for the shot in a few weeks. Atkins said that he’s “optimistic” that the Blue Jays will be able to reach the 85% threshold of players getting vaccinated that Major League Baseball has established in order to ease their COVID protocols.
Earlier this week, MLB and the Players’ Association sent out a three-page memorandum to players and staff that stated “all players and staff are strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.” If a team has 85% of its players vaccinated, MLB will loosen their COVID restrictions, allowing things like drinking …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays release 26-man roster (and Taxi Squad), Reese McGuire and Breyvic Valera have been designated for assignment

The Blue Jays have finally let us know who’s going to be the team to kick off the season.

The roster features 14 pitchers and 12 position players…
Pitchers: Hyun Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling, Steven Matz, Tanner Roark, T.J. Zeuch, Ryan Borucki, Tyler Chatwood, Rafel Dolis, Tim Mayza, Julian Merryweather, Joel Payamps, David Phelps, Jordan Romano, and Trent Thornton.
Players: Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vlad Jr., Joe Panik, Marcus Semien, Rowdy Tellez, Jonathan Davis, Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel, Teoscar Hernandez.
Taxi Squad: Riley Adams, Travis Bergen, A.J. Cole, Santiago Espinal, Tommy Milone.
Panik and Mayza needed to be added to the 40-man roster, so the team has designated both Breyvic Valera and Reese McGuire for assignment. The former comes as no surprise at all and the latter seemed inevitable once we learned yesterday that the team had gone out and acquired a veteran third-string catcher in Juan Graterol.
I would imagine that somebody takes a flyer on McGuire who is certainly good enough to be a glove-only backup catcher at the big-league level. Regardless, Kirk is the better player, and this move that prioritizes winning over asset management proves where the Blue Jays are at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation