Blue Jays: Nate Pearson progressing, not ready to join the ‘pen

Mar 21, 2022; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson throws a pitch in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers during spring training at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2022; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson throws a pitch in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers during spring training at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays were without their top two relievers on Monday night, and if they end up missing extended time, unfortunately Nate Pearson is not ready yet to fill in.

On Monday we learned that Tim Mayza was headed to the Injured List with inflammation in his throwing arm, and as of this writing we don’t know the full extent of the situation. Hopefully he won’t be out for long, because Mayza has become a key part of the late innings for Charlie Montoyo and the Blue Jays, and he’s performed very well since the start of last season.

As for Romano, he hasn’t been sent to the Injured List yet, but it sounds like he’s being evaluated at the moment and we should learn more in the coming days here. Admittedly, the closer has looked a little out of sorts over the course of his last couple of outings, and hopefully there’s nothing physically wrong with him.

The Blue Jays are going to have to turn to some of their other relievers to pitch in the late innings, and that likely means a higher pressure role for the likes of Yimi Garcia, Adam Cimber, David Phelps, and Trevor Richards. It also means that the Jays will need others to step up in the middle innings, so we could see from fresh arms from Triple-A in the coming days. Unfortunately Nate Pearson won’t be one of the available reinforcements.

You may remember that Pearson started the season by going to the IL because of a case of mono. That kept him from working out for a while, and the Blue Jays have been slowly building him up since. According to Mitch Bannon of S.I.com, Pearson is scheduled for a bullpen session on Tuesday, and if all goes well then hopefully he’ll work toward starting a minor league rehab assignment in a couple of weeks.

It’s really hard to say what kind of timeline we’re looking at here, but it sounds like Pearson is at least a month away from being able to join the Blue Jays, and that would be in a bullpen role. If they intend to build him up and use him as a starter, you can extend that timeline even further.

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I’m sure I’m not the only Blue Jays fan that thought, “hmmm.. I wonder if Pearson could help in the late innings soon if Romano and Mayza are out?”. Unfortunately the answer is no, at least in the short term. If all goes well, Romano and Mayza won’t be out very long and hopefully Pearson can join them at some point in the season. For now, Charlie Montoyo will have to turn to the rest of his veteran bullpen to get the job done.

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