The Blue Jays had yet another starter get hurt last night, with Henderson Alvarez leaving the game against Boston due to a sore elbow. He’s expected to avoid the DL, but the Jays already have three of his rotationmates there: Brandon Morrow (oblique), Kyle Drabek (elbow) and Drew Hutchinson (elbow).
Now comes word today that Nestor Molina, the top prospect the Jays parted with to get Sergio Santos (also injured) from the White Sox over the winter, has been placed on the DL at Double-A Birmingham with an elbow injury. His status is uncertain, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he misses a big chunk of the season.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi recently wrote a glowing article on the Blue Jays’ young arms, taking shots at Oakland’s 2002 “Moneyball draft” in the process. The Jays now employ more area scouts than any team in the league, and it might well be helping them identify talent other clubs have missed.
But the Jays have a great deal of their future tied up in young arms, which certainly creates the potential for heartbreak. They should know: they currently have six pitchers on the 60-day DL, and depending on how Alvarez’s elbow reacts this weekend, their next move might be to replace their 22-year-old right-hander with 49-year-old Jamie Moyer.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.