For Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitching Alek Manoah, he may forever loathed the date June 6th, 2023, as that was the time he was optioned to the minors to the Florida Complex League to rebuild his pitching mechanics. For someone that has risen to the top of the pedestal in just the previous season where he was an All Star and AL Cy Young finalist, it was definitely a hard pill to swallow, and for sure not something he could get over too easily. However, it was something that had to be done to help potentially salvaged his once promising start to his illustrious career to help him regain back his confidence and mojo that he had ever since he entered the big show two years ago.
Luckily for Manoah, he will also have a veteran teammate as his mentor as he goes through the long, yet hopefully effective, process in making his way back to the big leagues. As per the Toronto Sun, in an interview with Jays’ starter Chris Bassitt, being a veteran of nine MLB seasons, he shared his valuable advice to the struggling Manoah by reflecting upon his own experiences once upon a time.
"The sentiment I’ve told him is that I’ve been optioned a lot of times and not one was ever easier than the other one. So it’s a situation where he can go down there and get worse and be miserable or he can go down there and be the Alek Manoah who has a huge heart and cares for everybody… I told him not to change who he is as a person — to just keep working…I’ve talked to him a lot, we’ve all kind of talked to him…I wouldn’t say he’s doing great by any means, but he’s down there working. And he’s definitely in the right mindset to get back very fast to us."
Bassitt has already been a key part to the Jays’ starting rotation success this year, but it now appears as though he has earned another level of respect by taking upon a mentorship role as well to help out his fellow fallen teammate. Led by Bassitt, together with the rest of his teammates, they are determined to give Manoah all the support and care that he needed to get him back in the majors, sooner than later.
Bassitt would go on to elaborate on what he himself had gone through in the past, along with giving some more words of encouragement along the way.
"So many people just don’t understand that this is just part of the game. For whatever reason, people want to panic when these kinds of things happen when in reality, it’s such a commonplace thing, especially for a 25-year-old…When I was his age, I may have been optioned seven or eight times by that point. We’re going to see the Cy Young type Alek Manoah back soon. It’s just a matter of how soon…It’s all just a part of his journey…He has a huge heart and just wants to help so many people. I know for a fact that he’s going to be a better baseball player and a better teammate because of this. It’s just a matter of time before he brings it to a big-league mound again."
After about a little over a week’s time, it appears as though things have gone well so far for Manoah, as he slowly but steadily builds up his game again. In particular, the positive endorsement coming from Jays' manager John Schneider was quite encouraging.
As he works his way up from simulated games to actual live minor league games in the coming days, look for the Jays to get a better picture and assessment on the development and progress of Manoah as a result of it. Nevertheless, there has been no date set yet with regards to his potential return to the majors.
In the meantime, it should be quite reassuring for Manoah to know that not only does he have Bassitt behind him to help guide him back to top form, but also his teammates and the entire Jays’ nation behind him to give him all the care and support he needs in getting him back to the happy and successful man he once was and ultimately will always be in the future as well.