After a one month odyssey in the low minors, Opening Day starter Alek Manoah is back with the Blue Jays. Manager John Schneider made the announcement late Tuesday afternoon: Manoah will start Friday's game vs. the Detroit Tigers.
Manoah, who finished third in Cy Young balloting in 2022, was sent down to the Florida Complex League in early June, after a disastrous start to the season that saw him go 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA for the Jays. It wasn't just a demotion to the minors — it was an attempt at a total reset, at the lowest level of the minors.
The Jays worked on rebuilding his mechanics, and the first public outing, a start against 18- and 19-year-olds in the Florida Complex League a couple of weeks ago, did not go well, to say the least. Manoah gave up 10 hits and 11 earned runs in 2.2 innings to those teenagers, raising considerable doubt about just when he'd be able to make it back to the majors.
But a surprising start at Double-A on Sunday with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats turned everything on its ear.
He was dominant in five innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run, while striking out ten. That, apparently, was all the Jays needed to see to get their season-opening ace back in the rotation.
Without Manoah, the Jays needed to go with a bullpen game on three occasions in the past month, and the results were mixed. While Trevor Richards looked good on occasion as the opener, overall the pitching staff posted a 4.85 ERA in those games with a 1-2 record.
Needless to say, the 25-year-old is pumped to be back, as Schneider relayed, saying that “he’s fired up.” And that's the Alek Manoah that the Toronto Blue Jays have missed this season. Here's hoping he takes that fiery attitude back out onto the mound on Friday night.