Latest injury updates on Mitch White, Zach Pop, and Adam Cimber

Sep 6, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mitch White (45) pitches
Sep 6, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mitch White (45) pitches / Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays have been fairly fortunate this season with the injury bug, having only three players hit the IL after the season started. Mitch White with elbow inflammation, Zach Pop with a hamstring strain and Adam Cimber with a rhomboid injury. All of these players are relievers and once healthy, can provide more depth in a Jays bullpen that ranks only 11th in the majors with a 3.71 ERA.

Mitch White

White, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2022 trade deadline, posted a respectable 3.58 ERA in 105.2 IP in his two and a half years with the club. But following his trade to the Jays, everything went downhill. He posted a 7.74 ERA in 43 innings and was taken out of a starting pitching role and pushed into the bullpen. Nonetheless, the Jays were willing to give him a second chance this spring by putting him against Yusei Kikuchi for the fifth starting pitching role. However, the battle was already lost for him in February due to a shoulder impingement and he eventually started the season on the IL. It took him all the way until April 26th to make his first rehab assignment, where he went 3.1 IP only allowing one earned run for Single-A Dunedin. Following this start, he moved up to Triple-A Buffalo and since then he has made four appearances and has not jumped off to a great start. In these outings he has allowed 13 earned runs, with 11 walks, and a pair of hit batters in only 13.2 IP. This shows that there is still work to be done for him to grab ahold of his command. Fortunately for the Jays, he has another eight days left in his rehab assignment, which should give him a few more outings to tune up before a potential return to the big-league bullpen.

Zach Pop

Pop, 26, has made a name for himself ever since his arrival last August from the Miami Marlins, finishing out the 2022 season for the Jays with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings. He then picked up right where he left off with a blazing hot start this season, posting a 1.08 ERA in his first 8.1 IP. However, since then he has given up nine earned runs in his last six appearances, forcing his ERA skyrocket to an ugly 6.59. Things continued to get worse for him when he suffered a right hamstring injury mid-game in Toronto’s 11-5 loss against the Boston Red Sox on May 4th. Hamstring injuries are tricky because minor strains could only be a couple of days, but more serious cases could be a few weeks or months. On the bright side, Pop may be close to beginning his rehab assignment and started throwing from 90 feet earlier this week. 

Adam Cimber

Cimber has been a mainstay in the Jays bullpen the past couple of years, posting an incredible 12-8 record with a 2.49 ERA in 108 IP from the time of his acquisition in 2021 through the 2022 season. It was an easy decision to place him on the Opening Day roster and to hand him some high-leverage opportunities early. Except, the production from his 10 innings of work this year have not been as elite. He has already allowed three home runs (compared to just 6 last year in 7 times the amount of innings) and his walk percentage is up from 4.4 last year (top six percent in the league) to an abysmal 9.3. It was clear something was wrong, and on April 24th, he was put on the 15-day IL with a rhomboid strain. Since the injury, he has made one minor league appearance for Dunedin and one for Buffalo, tossing a combined two innings while allowing two base runners and striking out a batter. It has now been 20 days since his time began on the injured list, and judging how it has been less than a three week injury, we could see him added back to the major league roster soon. 

It is difficult to say how exactly these three guys will fit into the team once they are healthy, because the Jays pitching department already has the max number of arms with 13 (five starters and eight relievers). White has no more minor league options left, meaning he must be added to the major league roster at the end of his minor's stint, or the Jays will risk losing him. As far as Pop goes, he was a name early in the season that got fans excited, but following his recent struggles and the fact he has minor league options left, the Jays may decide to option him down to Buffalo to give him more opportunities to regain his form. Lastly, Cimber is the most likely candidate to rejoin the bullpen once he recovers. However, his direct replacement in Nate Pearson has impressed so far with only two earned runs allowed in his eight innings of work. Pearson is coming off a few rocky seasons and surely the Jays would like to give him a bigger sample size at the game's highest level. This likely leaves Thomas Hatch as the most likely candidate to be sent packing.