Kevin Gausman pulled from bullpen session with ominous "shoulder fatigue"

After being the very definition of durable during his first two seasons with the Blue Jays, the latest news on Kevin Gausman gives some reason for concern.

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game One
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game One / David Berding/GettyImages

Kevin Gausman has been many things during his time in Toronto: staff ace, Cy Young contender, strikeout king and All-Star. Another thing he's been for the Blue Jays, is durable.

Gausman has made 31 starts in each of his two seasons with the Blue Jays, and last year his 185 innings were the third-most of his Major League career. To say he's important to the rotation, would be a significant understatement.

The Blue Jays had one of the very best rotations in all of baseball last season, as they finished third with a team ERA of 3.85 and second with 922 strikeouts. Gausman led all Blue Jays regular starters with a 3.16 ERA and was first in the AL with a career-high 237 strikeouts.

With this in mind, the latest news surrounding the two-time All-Star is likely unnerving for a lot of Blue Jays fans. As per Keegan Matheson of, the pitcher did not throw his scheduled bullpen session on Monday.

The dreaded shoulder fatigue

Gausman was originally scheduled to throw around 40 pitches over two innings on Monday, versus Blue Jays hitters. Matheson went on to note that he is dealing with general shoulder fatigue and didn’t fully bounce back from his last session.

The 33-year-old is yet to pitch in Grapefruit league action in 2024. An MRI came back negative for injury and structural concerns, and yet you still have to wonder if he will be okay.

For now, the Blue Jays will rest Gausman and take a wait and see approach. Speaking to the media including Matheson on Monday, manager John Schneider said: "It kind of just popped up. He didn’t really bounce back after his side. We’ll see how he is in a couple of days."

More generally speaking, this news highlights just how fortunate the Blue Jays have been on the injury front when it comes to their rotation. Consider that last season, Gausman, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi combined to make 128 starts.

More injury news

Further, even Alek Manoah made 19 starts last season and it would have likely been more, if he hadn't performed so poorly. Taking this into account, that's still 147 out of a possible 162 starts by your regular rotation.

Still on the subject of Manoah, he has been dealing with right shoulder soreness since his poor Grapefruit League start. However, as per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, nothing is seriously wrong and the Blue Jays are just taking a cautious day-to-day approach with him.

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Of course of the two, Gausman is more important to the Blue Jays (until if and when Manoah can return to somewhere close to his form of 2023). As such, fans hope the 2012 fourth overall draft pick doesn't suffer any significant setbacks in the coming days and weeks.

If not, the team will conceivably have their back against the wall before the regular season even begins. Not that we're suggesting the 2024 campaign will be lost, but don't underestimate just how much Gausman means to the Blue Jays.