The Toronto Blue Jays recently slid lefty Mark Buehrle back to next Tuesday’s game in Atlanta following news that he would be receiving a cortisone injection in his throwing shoulder. This move clears the way for Marcus Stroman to return to the rotation on Saturday in New York, but highlights the uncertainty around the Blue Jays veteran starter.
Trending on Jays Journal: Meet Toronto’s silent assassin
After being pushed back on consecutive days this past weekend, Buehrle turned in his shortest outing of the year while allowing five earned runs on nine hits over 3.1 innings pitched. Although Buehrle continues to describe his ailments as little more than “aches and pains”, it’s beginning to noticeably hinder his on-field production. Over his past four starts, Buehrle has allowed 15 earned runs on 28 hits over just 19.1 innings.
Speaking with Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, general manager Alex Anthopoulos expressed his optimism in Buehrle. “Guys have gotten cortisone shots in the past, they won’t miss a turn. He’s not concerned about it, we’re not concerned about it. He actually felt good after the game (Monday) but we just decided it probably would be the best thing for him.”
Cortisone shots are commonplace. Buehrle has had them, I’ve had them, and even Jose Bautista allegedly (maybe..) received one earlier this season. It’s concentrated treatment, however, so hopefully Buehrle’s arm, elbow, knees and legs are not causing problems of their own. Buehrle is 36 years old and has topped 200.0 innings pitched in every season since 2000. This is expected.
“He’s done this before. He’s been streaky,” Anthopoulos told Rutsey. “He can go on long runs and do really well and have a few starts in a row where he doesn’t perform as well. The big thing is he feels good and the guy’s been doing it so long you don’t bet against him. He knows more than anybody else. He’s not concerned, he’s not worried at all, he feels great.”
There are few men in this league more deserving of trust than Mark Buehrle, but with a razor-thin margin between Toronto and the New York Yankees in the AL East, another early exit on Tuesday could bring about some awkward conversation. I’m not comfortable living in a world with Mark Buehrle on a bench, but Stroman’s return could potentially allow Toronto to push Buehrle back in each of his remaining starts.
Keep in mind that Tuesday isn’t set in stone, either. His recent push-backs this past weekend were not announced until the day prior, so Toronto will be wise to take a cautious approach over the next several days. Perhaps it’s not yet time to worry, but this is the closest I’ve been yet with Buehrle.