Bum ankle could be final nail in Marco Estrada’s bid for the Blue Jays rotation


Marco Estrada has already hurt his case to make the Toronto Blue Jays rotation with his pitching performance on the mound this spring. He really didn’t need another obstacle to get in the way of his bid. Unfortunately, an ankle injury is just adding to the right-handers woes as camp draws into its final days, as Andrew Simon of MLB.com reports.

Estrada, who was supposed to start on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, was a late scratch for the second straight outing due to a sore ankle and hasn’t pitched since March 15th. He was also scratched from his Sunday start after turning his ankle earlier in the week in yet another Blue Jays injury during fielding practice. Toronto’s top pitcher, Marcus Stroman, tore his ACL earlier this spring during a fielding exercise.

For Marco Estada, the ankle injury may be the final nail in the coffin in his attempt to beat out Daniel Norris for the final spot in the Blue Jays rotation. In four games and 7.2 innings of work, the 31-year-old has surrendered 8 runs on 12 hits and a walk, while striking out just four batters on the spring. He’s allowed 13 of the 36 batters he’s faced to reach base safely. Additionally, after leading the National League in home runs surrendered with 29 in 2014, Estrada has done little to alleviate those concerns this spring, allowing 2 bombs in the 8 hit mix.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Norris has done everything he’s needed to to convince the Blue Jays that he needs to be a part of the rotation. Sure, the injury to Marcus Stroman opened the door, but Daniel Norris stepped right through it by posting a 2.84 ERA and striking out 14 batters in 12.2 innings of work this spring. That was capped by a beautiful outing on March 20th, when Norris pitched into the sixth inning, allowing just a single earned run and striking out five against the Rays. In that outing, he threw 32 of his 37 pitches for strikes and has thrown 80% of his pitches for strikes this spring.

That likely leaves Estrada, who the Blue Jays acquired for Adam Lind on November 1st, heading to the bullpen to start the season. That’s a role he’s seen quite a bit of in the past, and finished the season in relief with the Brewers. He’ll likely be used as a long-man, leaving him available for spot starts as needed throughout the season.

Time is just running out on Marco Estrada.

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