While we continue to wait for an update on the start of the regular season, there could be a useful way to use this downtime for one Blue Jays pitcher.
It’s been interesting to follow the reports from MLB front offices and even players on social media as they talk about how they’re spending their time while MLB is on pause waiting for the Covid-19 pandemic to calm down, especially in North America. The reality is, as they follow protocols to keep themselves safe and healthy, very few are working out at all at the moment, which means spring training will essentially have to start over when baseball eventually resumes.
While that’s obviously not a good use of time for a professional athlete, it’s a necessary step at the moment, and one that’s pretty much unavoidable. That said, as I’ve watched a few other announcements from around the league, I can’t help but wonder if the Blue Jays are thinking of using this time more effectively, at least for one player on their 40-man roster.
Before I even suggest it, let me say that I’m not a doctor or a surgeon, nor do I have access to the Blue Jays’ medical records on their players. I’m purely throwing this out as an observation, especially what’s happened to a few starting pitchers over the last few weeks. I’m talking about the Tommy John surgeries for Chris Sale, Noah Syndergaard, Tyler Beede and more. But I can’t. help but wonder if Ryan Borucki is headed for the same inevitable fate, and if it wouldn’t be a better idea to just address his issues now.
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As I’ve already said, I’m not a doctor, and I’d never advocate for someone getting a surgery they don’t need. That said, after Borucki has battled elbow issues for more than a year now, and they reduced him to just two MLB appearances last season, throwing just 6.2 innings at the big league level. He only managed another 18 innings during rehab stints throughout the minor leagues, so it was essentially a lost season for him as he battled issues with elbow inflammation.
The hope was that Borucki would be able to rest his arm and hopefully strengthen the problem areas enough to be able to put it behind him heading into this season. However, Borucki found himself in a similar position early on during camp, having to be shut down again with elbow tightness in mid-February, all but guaranteeing he wouldn’t be ready to pitch out of the rotation by Opening Day.
He did have a minor procedure in August to remove some bone spurs in his left elbow, and it’s possible that in time that may prove to be the step that he needed to take to get back on the mound consistently. However, if Borucki and the Blue Jays are worried about the potential or even risk of a bigger issue, would it be smarter to use this down time now to address it? That’s a question for Borucki, the medical staff, and the Blue Jays to answer, but I think it’s one worth asking right now.
We saw what kind of impact Borucki could make in the rotation during his successful rookie season in 2018 when he went 4-6 with a 3.87 ERA across 17 starts and 97.1 innings that year. Hopefully he can find a way back to the mound sooner than later, and if that means he has to have another procedure, even something as serious as a Tommy John surgery, now would be the time to do it.