Jon Rauch made his way back from an emergency appendectomy, but now the Blue Jays reliever has been shut down for the season with a knee injury.
Rauch was placed on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his right knee and is expected to eventually undergo surgery.
Rauch had an up-and-down season in Toronto, working as both a setup man and closer while throwing 52 innings with a 4.85 ERA that’s the worst of his career. He posted a decent 36/14 K/BB ratio, but Rauch served up 11 homers in just 225 plate appearances after giving up just three homers in 245 plate appearances for the Twins last year.
Toronto has a $3.75 million option or $250,000 buyout on Rauch for next season, but the free agent reliever market projects to be deep enough that declining figures to be their best move even if they wouldn’t mind having him back in 2012.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”