Blue Jays Injury Update: What is the concern level for Zach Pop?

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

When Zach Pop needed help leaving the field on Thursday in Boston, it didn't look promising. As such, it came as no surprise when he was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right hamstring strain.

Jay Jackson was subsequently recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take Pop's place. In truth, the choices to join the bullpen were limited and Toronto can only hope Jackson holds his own.

Along these lines, the timing of Pop's injury was not ideal. This leads to the question of how long he will be out?

Initial prognosis positive

In theory, a minor hamstring strain only takes a few days to recover from. However, the initial projection is that the Brampton, Ontario native will be out for at least a couple of weeks.

This is more than likely just a case of the Blue Jays medical staff taking a cautious approach, and rightly so. Of course, the situation could change pending further investigation.

(For example, a hamstring tear could take up to three months to recover from. However, at this stage there has been no indication of anything more serious.)

Pop has been a valuable member of the bullpen since he arrived last August as part of a trade with the Miami Marlins. He made 17 appearances during the remainder of the 2022 season, recording a 1.89 ERA and 1.053 WHIP in 19 combined innings.

The 26-year-old continued his fine form into this season. Through his first nine appearances, he had an excellent 1.08 ERA in 8.1 combined innings.

Recent struggles

Since then however, Pop has been somewhat erratic in six appearances. He has given up eight hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 5.1 combined innings, to see his ERA balloon to 6.59.

In fairness to the 2017 seventh round draft pick, this includes two hits and three earned runs in his most recent outing. Compromised by his injury, he toughed it out for 0.2 innings before finally leaving the game.

The Blue Jays will be keen to find out which version of Pop they get when he returns. It will be hoped his recent struggles are just a temporary blip, for someone who has been mostly excellent since
arriving in Toronto.

More generally speaking, the bullpen as a whole needs to step up and help the Blue Jays' push for the postseason. Despite being the most well-rested unit as of May. 5, they are just 18th in the Majors with a 3.89 ERA.