The Blue Jays were pleased to see a familiar face in the dugout on Sunday when J.A. Happ walked into the room. He threw a side session on Sunday and looks to be the likely starter for Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays have dealt with their fair share of injuries this year, but they’re slowly but surely getting healthy. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki re-joined the team a few days ago, and it looks like J.A. Happ may be the next significant piece to return to the lineup.
Several media outlets reported that Happ was seen in the clubhouse on Sunday, leading to all kinds of smiles and hugs from his teammates. The left-hander was an extremely valuable piece to the team’s success last year, and his return will be another lift for a suddenly hot team.
It was reported that he threw a side session on Sunday that went “very well”, and it looks very likely that he’ll take Tuesday’s start against the Cincinnati Reds, in the second of their four game set at the Rogers Centre.
The Illinois native had his best season as a pro last year for the Jays, finishing with a 20-4 record, a 3.18 ERA, and coming in 6th in Cy Young voting in the American League. He also made 32 starts and threw 195 innings, which were both career highs for the 34 year old.
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The Blue Jays are set to send Marcus Stroman to the hill against Lisalverto Bonilla in the series opener, and have yet to formally announce their starter for Tuesday, though Happ appears to be the obvious candidate, especially now that he’s in Toronto.
The former 1st round pick has been out since April 18th with elbow inflammation, and the club has to be relieved that they’re getting him back, even if it’s been over a month without his services. More often than not, when you hear “elbow inflammation” with a pitcher, it frequently leads to the dreaded Tommy John surgery.
The Blue Jays have relied on arms like Joe Biagini, Mike Bolsinger, Mat Latos and others to fill in for their injured starters, and while they’ve collectively done an admirable job, the team is much stronger with the former Phillie throwing every fifth day.
Francisco Liriano also pitched for Triple A Buffalo on Sunday, and may also join the rotation sooner than later as well. He’s been hit and miss in the regular season so far, but there’s no denying the upside that he brings to the mound as well.
Assuming Happ makes the start on Tuesday, he’ll face off against against former Blue Jay prospect Asher Wojciechowski at 7:07 EST.