Blue Jays: The 2017 injury bug is still alive in Toronto

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 19: Marcus Stroman
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 19: Marcus Stroman /

Opening day is just over two weeks away and the Blue Jays already have two key players ruled out for it, Marcus Stroman and Troy Tulowitzki. So far this spring there have been several ‘minor’ injuries. Should we be worried?

On Monday, Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman was told he will not be the Opening Day starter against the New York Yankees. The first setback for a player on the team in this exciting 2018 season, as Stroman was set to be the starter on March 29th at the Rogers Centre.

There’s no reason to panic, it’s just one more game, the first of 162, and the 26 year old Stroman will most probably be ready for that opening week. However, it is a bit frustrating to see the 2017 injury bug still present in the Blue Jays right at the start of 2018, after a season where frustration was the word that precisely described the feeling of most Blue Jays fans.

The injury isn’t something to worry about, but something the Jays have to be careful with as Gibbons said: “The shoulder is really no big deal, but my experience in this game is that sometimes it’s better to be smart than stupid”. This tells us that the decision of Stroman not taking the ball on opening day is more of a cautious move rather than an obligation.

"“The shoulder is really no big deal, but my experience in this game is that sometimes it’s better to be smart than stupid”.- John Gibbons"

However, watching MLB Tonight analyzing the Blue Jays offseason and evaluating their outlook for the 2018 season, Colorado Rockies ex General Manager Dan O’Dowd said: “I always get concerned when a pitcher has some shoulder issues”. This doesn’t come from just any person, it comes from Dan O’ Dowd, someone who has been a GM for 15 years. If he says that, it’s because he knows it can be an issue for Stroman.

In addition to Stroman’s injury, Randal Grichuk has some ribcage soreness and dealt with a bit of a sprained wrist earlier this spring. He’s day to day however, and it isn’t nearly as worrying as Stroman’s issue. Also in the outfield, we saw Steve Pearce go down with a mild left calf strain. According to manager John Gibbons “it’s more dehydration, it cramped up”. Pearce hasn’t played for over a week since those words. Again, it’s more of a precaution than an obligation that’s keeping him off the field this spring, but Pearce was out for quite some time last year with leg injuries too. It’s just one more ‘minor’ injury that adds to an injury list that saw itself get longer every two weeks or so in 2017.

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Another, but a more usual thing to see unfortunately, is Troy Tulowitzki’s bone spur. He’s also set to miss Opening Day which opens the door to offseason acquisitions Aledmys Diaz or Yangervis Solarte to be the opening day shortstop, and perhaps Gift Ngoepe to get a place on the Opening Day 25 man roster. The injury bug hasn’t left the veteran shortstop and it keeps preventing Blue Jays fans from seeing the real Troy Tulowitzki.

Lastly, Dalton Pompey is currently dealing with right wrist soreness and has been told to rest it. According to Ben Nicholson Smith from Sportsnet, if it doesn’t improve he’ll then get a cortisone shot. Again, it is a minor injury which isn’t worrying, but it is an injury that does affect a player’s pre-season.

The two bright spots in Grapefruit League ation, health wise, are Devon Travis and Aaron Sanchez who have not had any type of discomfort or setback so far this spring. Definitely great news for the Blue Jays, as they are without question two key pieces for the 2018 team.

Should be worried though? All the injuries discusses are definitely minor ones, even Stroman’s and Tulowitzki’s who aren’t expected to miss a lot of time after opening day, they aren’t injuries to be worried about. However, so far this spring, there have been over five injuries in just over two weeks. Within those two weeks, it just feels like injuries haven’t abandoned the Blue Jays.

Next: Diaz or Solarte at shortstop in Tulo's absence?