Blue Jays plan to wait as long as possible on Romano, Swanson injury decisions

Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

We are officially under a week away from 2024 Opening Day. The Toronto Blue Jays will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday, Mar 28. Jose Berrios will make his second Opening Day start for the Jays, opposite Zach Eflin of the Rays.

There are a few players on the Blue Jays that may not be active for the series, though. There's plenty of uncertainty surrounding the likes of Danny Jansen, Yariel Rodriguez, Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman. Two relievers, Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson, have also seen their names thrown into this most unfortunate group.

Earlier this week, Romano was revealed to be dealing with right elbow inflammation while Swanson was dealing with right forearm tightness.

Judging by the latest updates from Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling (X link), both right-handers are resuming baseball activities but it's unclear whether they'll be ready to make the club's roster come Thursday. According to Zwelling, the Blue Jays plan to wait until the end of camp to make an official decision on their statuses.

With Romano and Swanson only as far as playing catch, it does not feel likely that they'll be ready to go. Should they need a trip to the injured list, the expectation is that they'll only be out for the minimum amount of time.

Romano, 30, had 36 saves in 59 appearances last year, making his second consecutive All-Star Game in the process. He continues to be a rock-solid closer for the Blue Jays, delivering high-energy outings every single time he takes the mound. The pride of Markham will return to this role once he's fully up to speed.

In spring, Romano is currently sporting a 2.08 ERA across five appearances, striking out six and walking two.

Swanson, a native of Fargo, ND, excelled in his first year on the Blue Jays. He made a career-high 69 appearances and struck out 75 batters in just under 67 innings. He has a small amount of closing experience in the past, but he's more of an oft-used set-up man than anything else.

Swanson missed time earlier this spring to tend to his son, Toby, who was injured in a car accident. He has since started his recovery process and Erik has been able to return to the team, even though his return to game action has been halted. Swanson has just two appearances under his belt, walking two and striking out one while allowing a run in just 1.2 innings of work.

Since the assumption can be made that neither reliever will be ready come Opening Day, this opens the door for other hopefuls to earn a spot. Nate Pearson, Zach Pop, Mitch White and Wes Parsons stand out as possibilities to make their way onto the roster. Only White has any real staying power in the big leagues right now, as his new-and-improved high-90s heater has earned him another shot in the bigs.