Latest injury update on Alek Manoah’s status as Opening Day nears for the Blue Jays

What do we know about Manoah as the Blue Jays regular season is set to begin?

Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

When spring training began for the Toronto Blue Jays, one player in particular was looking for redemption after going through a nightmarish season in 2023. That player was none other than former team ace and Cy Young finalist Alek Manoah. After posting a dismal 3-9 record with a 5.87 ERA and 1.74 WHIP while struggling mightily with his command and control, Manoah was looking to get back on track to regain his spot in the rotation for 2024.

However, his comeback has hit an unfortunate snag before he could even get his feet wet. Following an underwhelming outing in his first start this spring where he gave 4 runs on 3 hits including 3 hit batters, he has been sidelined since due to soreness and inflammation in his right shoulder. MRI results had revealed no structural damage, as the Jays’ trainers began their work with him to restrengthen the area. 

Now with Opening Day approaching around the corner, there was finally some good news coming out of Manoah’s camp. He has begun to throw live batting practice once again, as reported by David Singh of Sportsnet. After throwing 23 pitches to fellow teammates Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz and Rafael Lantigua, Manoah said he felt really good. He recorded 3 strikeouts with his pitches topping out at 96 mph during the process

Nevertheless, he appears to have the right mindset going forward as he tries to work his way back one step at a time.

"When something kind of barks up, you can play the pride game and try to roll through it … And that ends up biting you in the butt in the long run … I think the biggest thing is just keeping my mind on what I need to do today, what I need to do tomorrow. When tomorrow comes and when the next day comes, worry about that. That kind of keeps my mind in a safe space and keeps my feet right where they need to be and allows me not to miss any steps along the way. Just stay focused on the day-to-day," Manoah said.

With Manoah unlikely to break camp with the team for the start of the regular season as he continues to build up his program, the Jays will enter the year with Bowden Francis slotting into the rotation as a result of his fine showing during spring training. In doing so, it will give Manoah all the time and breathing room to get everything back in the right gear so that he can hopefully provide some valuable impact to the team once again down the road.

But one thing is for sure, manager John Schneider confirmed that Manoah will strictly be used only in a starting role and won’t consider him as a potential bullpen piece going forward.

"We're going to keep him there [in a starting role] … He's obviously done that his whole career. So, whenever he's ready and performing, we'll see. We'll see where he's at," explained Schneider.

No matter what, Manoah has the full support of his manager, his teammates and the organization as a whole, and hopefully we will see him completely  back to form and raring to go to help the Jays to success this coming season.