Brandon Morrow beginning on the season on the disabled list ends whatever competition there was for rotation spots in Blue Jays camp, so 23-year-old top prospect Kyle Drabek has won a starting job.
In fact, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that Drabek will take Morrow’s place in the rotation and pitch Game 2 behind Opening Day starter Ricky Romero. Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, and Jo-Jo Reyes will fill out the rest of the rotation.
Morrow is hoping to miss just one start, but slotting Drabek into the No. 2 spot indicates that the Blue Jays have no plans to send him back to the minors.
Acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade and ranked by Baseball America as 29th-best prospect in the game this year, Drabek had a 2.94 ERA and 132/68 K/BB ratio in 162 innings at Double-A last season before going 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in three September starts for the Blue Jays.
Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.
Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.
While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.