DUNEDIN, Fla. — Toronto Blue Jays closer Julian Merryweather has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique.
The right-hander felt discomfort in the left side of his abdomen on his final warmup pitch in the eighth inning of a 7-3 victory over the New York Yankees.
Merryweather entered with two runners on and two outs and threw just two pitches to Aaron Hicks before Gary Sanchez was tagged out in a rundown between first and second base after a pitch in the dirt. He didn’t return for the ninth.
Merryweather has two saves and has allowed just one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts over four innings in four appearances. His fastball has reached 100.4 mph this season.
Also, Ross Stripling was scratched from his scheduled start against the Yankees due to right forearm tightness. He was unable to get loose before the game.
T.J. Zeuch replaced Stripling.
NOTES: RHP David Phelps, hit in the lower back by Clint Frazier‘s 100.7 mph liner, is day to day with a bruised back. … RHP Anthony Castro had his contract purchased from the alternate site and will work out of the bullpen.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.