Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki’s injury is haunting the starting rotation

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Ryan Borucki #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 29, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Ryan Borucki #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 29, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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With Ryan Borucki yet to make an appearance this season due to an elbow injury, the starting rotation for the Toronto Blue Jays has been a mess. With the left-hander being such a force on the team last year, the Jays are surely missing him in the rotation with 1/3 of the season already completed.

Ryan Borucki has been sidelined since spring training with elbow discomfort and has not appeared in a single game this season for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Last season, Borucki made his debut with the Jays in late June and would be an innings eater for the team over the season.

His 3.87 ERA and 4-6 record with 17 games started was helpful for a rotation that was dealing with injuries to starting pitchers Aaron Sanchez, Jaime Garcia, and Marcus Stroman; as well as J.A. Happ being traded midseason to the New York Yankees.

ST PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 29: Ryan Borucki #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 29, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 29: Ryan Borucki #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 29, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Coming into 2019, Borucki was competing for the 5th rotation spot with Clayton Richard, Matt Shoemaker and Clay Buchholz being added to the squad over the offseason/spring training. Towards the end of spring, Borucki was slated to make the team for Opening Day until going down with the injury, which was followed with a 60 day IL placement in mid-April.

As the season progressed, the starting rotation has started to unravel and get messy quickly.

Shoemaker tore his ACL and will now miss the rest of the season, which is unfortunate as the bearded right-hander was performing well before undergoing surgery. Both Richard and Buchholz experienced injuries as well, with Richard missing the start of the season due to a knee injury and Buchholz currently on the IL with a shoulder injury.

This was followed by Aaron Sanchez’s blister and fingernail issues, resulting in the right-hander leaving games early, putting the bullpen in tough situations and physically exhausted.

TORONTO, ON – MARCH 30: Aaron Sanchez #41 of the Toronto Blue Jays exits the game as he is relieved by manager Charlie Montoyo #25 in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 30: Aaron Sanchez #41 of the Toronto Blue Jays exits the game as he is relieved by manager Charlie Montoyo #25 in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

With a revolving door of injuries to the starting rotation and Thomas Pannone struggling when he starts games, the Jays called up their trade partners in Oakland and brought in veteran Edwin Jackson.

Since his arrival, Jackson has been absolutely abysmal in a Jays uniform, with an ERA of 13.22 and an 0-3 record in 4 games started. He has also failed to pitch into the 6th inning in the 4 games he has started this season.

Now, back to the point of this article.

If Ryan Borucki was healthy, there is a good chance some of these starting rotation situations could have been avoided.

1). The Shoemaker injury would have allowed Richard to come from the bullpen and join the rotation, which would not have left a hole at the #5 spot in the rotation.

Even if Richard was still on the IL to begin the season, Pannone would have been the #5 starter for the rotation (Sam Gaviglio seems to be the long man moving forward) instead of riding the options bus to Buffalo this season.

2). Jackson would have never been traded for because of the injury to Shoemaker. This would leave Borucki, Buchholz and Richard to fill out the rest of the rotation, with Pannone being used in case of injury to these three.

3). The injuries to Buchholz and Richard would not have created such an issue like they did a few weeks ago.

After Buchholz went to the IL, the Jays could’ve used spot starts from Sean Reid-Foley, Gaviglio or Pannone before Richard returned from his IL stint just two weeks later. Again, no trade for starting pitching depth would have been needed.

4). Aaron Sanchez would still be leaving games early, but the bullpen would be able to pick up the slack every five games, instead of having to come out every time Jackson goes 2-3 innings because he is pitching poorly.

With Borucki’s elbow injury, the Blue Jays had to be creative with using a revolving door of players to start games (11 different pitchers starting games) and even had to implement the opener strategy with RP Daniel Hudson starting a game.

The bullpen has been heavily relied upon with Jackson’s terrible outings and Sanchez’s finger issues, and Borucki could have been used to get to pitch deeper into games, giving the relievers a much-needed rest.

In the 17 games he started last year, Borucki would pitch 6+ innings in 12 of those appearances, something the Blue Jays rotation is in desperate need of right now.

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Borucki came onto the active roster last year and was just the rock the team needed to finish the season, something the team has been seeing with Marcus Stroman, but he cannot do it alone (just like how Borucki was being supplemented with Marco Estrada and Sam Gaviglio last year).

Now for some positive news on the injury front.

Ryan Borucki was long tossing this past week and should have thrown a bullpen session on May 31. While he is starting to throw the ball more and more, he is still a few weeks away before stepping on the mound in a competitive game.

He will also have to partake in some rehab games in the MiLB before returning to the Jays, so it could easily take over a month before Borucki returns to the active roster.

Next. Blue Jays MiLB Notes: Gunnar Heidt, Jesus Tinoco, and more. dark

Long story short, if there was an award for ‘player we are really missing the most’, Ryan Borucki would be the winner.

Hurry up and get better. Please?

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