Blue Jays: Clayton Richard inching toward return
New Blue Jays pitcher Clayton Richard will most likely get into a game next week as he recovers from knee surgery, manager Charlie Montoyo said Wednesday.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, who spoke with Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo Wednesday, Clayton Richard is being brought “along slowly”. Montoyo “anticipates that he’ll get into a game next week”.
As of right now, the Blue Jays are scheduled to play six games, with Friday, March 8 featuring a split-squad game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Previously, general manager Ross Atkins said to reporters (including Blue Jays broadcaster Ben Wagner) that he has been “extremely impressed” with Richard and fellow starter Matt Shoemaker.
Nicholson-Smith also added what Atkins had previously mentioned earlier this spring: the fact that Richard will most likely open the season in the Blue Jays rotation, joining Shoemaker, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and one of Ryan Borucki, Sam Gaviglio or Thomas Pannone.
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Of course, that fifth rotation spot could go to a pitcher who is not currently in the organization; Atkins frequently said the team would be looking to add another arm or two as depth.
Richard, 35, was acquired by the Blue Jays in late December from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor-league outfielder Connor Panas. In 158.2 innings in 2018, he pitched to an ERA of 5.33 in 27 starts. For his career, the native of Lafayette, Indiana carries an ERA of 4.46 and has appeared in over 250 major league games. Appearing primarily as a member of the Padres, he has also logged time with the Chicago White Sox and Cubs.
While Montoyo’s comments don’t exactly provide a ton of new information, it is encouraging that Richard, though likely a rather minor part of the Blue Jays’ future plans, is progressing nicely as the season’s start draws nearer.