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|Jays Rotation Takes Another Hit
||Tue, 26 June 2012 07:37
Registered: July 2005
If this keeps up, we might just see Jamie Moyer (signed to minor league contract yesterday) again this season:|
Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez hurt in Fenway start
Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez was removed from Monday night's game in Boston with right elbow soreness.
BOSTON—As lightning bolts struck violently close to Fenway Park and thunder cracked loud in the sky, it was difficult not to view the ominous weather that interrupted Monday night’s game here as somehow reflective of the Blue Jays’ remarkable misfortunate of late.
Henderson Alvarez — one of only two members of the Jays’ regular rotation not on the disabled list — left Monday night’s game in the sixth inning with soreness in his right elbow. Alvarez’s removal was called “precautionary” by the club.
But while the game was still in rain delay, they had already called up North Vancouver-native Scott Richmond from Triple-A Las Vegas.
“Headed to Boston tonight,” the 32-year-old Richmond — who has a 9-14 record and 5.26 ERA over three major-league seasons — told the Star, via text message, amid the rain delay.
Richmond has a 9-14 record and 5.26 ERA in 29 starts over parts of three major-league seasons, all with the Jays. In his last start with Vegas, Richmond pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, giving up only a single hit, while walking four.
“The reason why I play this game is to be up there and I’ve been up there and had success up there when I was healthy,” Richmond told the Star Sunday, before he knew of his call-up. “I got really smacked around when I wasn’t healthy.”
Richmond, who was placed on the DL in 2009 with shoulder tendinitis, said he struggled in the second half of last season due to fatigue related to his injury.
“I’ve proven I can pitch at that level healthy ... they don’t need nine-inning shutouts from me; they just need competitive starts and just to go out there and consistently throw strikes and do what they know I can do.”
Richmond said Sunday he hoped to get a call-up as the team struggles through its massive injury predicament.
There were no details at press time about the extent of Alvarez’s injury or whether he would be added to the disabled list. The team did not officially announce any roster moves.
It’s hard to believe it could get any worse for the Jays’ pitching staff after losing three starters in four games earlier this month, but now it is definitely worse.
If Alvarez is lost for any length of time, it will be four starters down in two weeks — and six on the season if you count Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch, who were both injured in spring training.
Shortly after Alvarez walked off the mound with Jays head trainer George Poulis, the foreboding black clouds that had been hovering for most of the game finally let fall their torrential downpour, halting the game midway through the seventh inning with the Jays leading 9-5, mostly on the strength of home runs by Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista.
Even if Alvarez’s injury turns out to be minor and he is forced to miss only a start or two, it will have a dramatically negative effect on the team’s chances in the short term. They have already depleted the best arms from their Triple-A farm team and have reached into the waiver wire in search of middling replacements.
Alvarez seemed to experience some pain in the third inning, after taking a wild roundhouse swipe at a Nick Punto high-hopper to the mound. Trainer Poulis came to the mound then as well, but after taking a few warm-up pitches with manager John Farrell watching closely, Alvarez continued in the game. In that instance it looked as if Alvarez had tweaked his back. There didn’t seem to be any problem with his elbow.
The Jays’ contest with Boston had been a wild one until it was interrupted by thunderstorms. Before the lightning and thunder struck, the teams had combined for 14 runs on 19 hits and four errors, with both Alvarez and Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront struggling to keep runners off base.
Alvarez was not sharp — giving up six hits and five runs through five innings — but as has been the Jays’ custom of late, they simply slugged their way through their pitching problems.
Arencibia, who went into the game hitting only .186 in June, hit his 10th home run of the season and first since May 27, to put the Jays back on top 7-5 in the sixth. Bautista added his AL-leading 24th homer of the season to pad the Jays’ lead in the seventh.
The Jays have now hit 107 home runs this year, trailing only the New York Yankees for the major-league lead.
Since his complete game shutout in L.A. on May 4, Alvarez, who has the lowest swing-and-miss rate in the majors, has given up 76 hits in 53.2 innings.
Before Monday’s game, Farrell said he was not concerned with Alvarez’s league-worst swing-and miss rate.
The key for him is not whether he gets swinging strikes, Farrell said; it’s staying down in the zone.
“Because when he has made mistakes up is when he has been hurt.”
The real issue with Alvarez, a heavy sinker-ball pitcher, is regaining the consistency of his sink, which has flattened out of late, Farrell said.
“It’s there at times and yet because the opposition knows more about him, when he has made mistakes up in the zone he has not gotten away with those.”
The Jays stormed out to a four-run lead here in the first inning before most of the Fenway Park crowd had even settled into their seats. After Brett Lawrie led off the game by slapping a single into right field, and stealing second on the next play, Rasmus pulled Doubront’s 2-2 pitch just barely around the right-field foul pole to put the Jays up an early two runs. Bautista then reached on a fielding error by Boston’s new everyday third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, scoring as Edwin Encarnacion doubled off the wall in centre field.
Rajai Davis made it four runs in the first by running out what would have been a double-play ball for most batters, thereby keeping the inning alive and allowing Encarnacion to score from third.
The Red Sox climbed back quickly, with David Ortiz responding to Rasmus’s home run with one of his own in the first inning, scoring Dustin Pedroia, who doubled to right in his first at-bat. Alvarez was tagged for three more runs in the third and fourth innings.
Ben Francisco made an impact in his first game back from a hamstring injury. He went 2-for-3 with two doubles before the rain delay. Francisco will be the team’s primary DH against left-handed pitching for the immediate future and also serve as a backup outfielder.
[Updated on: Tue, 26 June 2012 07:39]
|Re: Jays Rotation Takes Another Hit
||Tue, 26 June 2012 10:45
| Marty Otto
Registered: April 2006
Alvarez will head to Dunedin, Fla., on Tuesday for an MRI to ensure there's no major damage but as of right now the Blue Jays don't think he'll need to miss his next scheduled start Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Angels.|
"We don't anticipate that but we'll make and take every precautionary measure we can to ensure all that, his health is first and foremost in our minds," said manager John Farrell. "But the way he checked out here, the strength, the range of motion, not feeling any additional stiffness as the game went on … we don't know it fully, we'll have more information (Tuesday), but initially we're optimistic."
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