Coming off an injury-filled 2021 campaign and with the Jays signing Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi to multi-year deals in the offseason, all signs were pointing to former top prospect Nate Pearson either starting the year in the AAA rotation, waiting for an opportunity to start or potentially being moved to the MLB bullpen to conserve his innings. He wants to start and it looked like the Jays were heading that way before the right-hander started the year on the IL with mononucleosis. Another blow for a pitcher who just can’t seem to shake the injury bug.
Fast forward to August and Pearson has been limited to just 7.2 innings this season in the Minor Leagues, missing time due to mono and a separate lat strain. He hasn’t appeared in a game since June 19th but is slated to throw a bullpen at the Dunedin complex tomorrow. The next steps as per MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson in his return to game action would be to face some sort of live batting and then some rehab assignments, with the Florida product likely finishing the year as a relief pitcher.
The Blue Jays will be able to bring up one more pitcher when rosters expand on September 1st. Question is, who do they select?
While he is still weeks away from being fully game-ready, having his lively arm in the bullpen could be a great push for the Blue Jays at the end of the season.
There are a lot of hurdles currently in Pearson’s way and he will have to obviously earn the opportunity, but don’t be surprised if he finds a way to the active roster come the end of September, especially if the 14th pitcher is struggling or an injury occurs in the relief corps.