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Marco Estrada's lower back pain makes him questionable for his next start

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays ace Marco Estrada gutted through a five-inning start on Saturday against Cleveland, but appeared to be in pain throughout the entire appearance, occasionally having to stop, bend over, and wait for it to subside. According to Estrada himself, he might have to sit out his next start, having made today's outing just because of yesterday's 19-inning affair.

"So many suckers on my sacroiliac It's like a rap-sack, backpack, wic-wic-whack, give me some slack jack"-Maestro Fresh Wes in "Let Your Backbone Slide"

The pain in Estrada’s lower back sacroiliac joints had gotten worse since he first felt the symptoms swinging in an Interleague game last month. He had also been battling with back issues in spring training. He is expected to undergo an MRI scan for re-evaluation, with a stint on the disabled list as a good possibility.

While there is no good time for anyone of Estrada’s importance to be placed on the DL, the upcoming all-star break and off days means that he would miss fewer games than at any other point in the season. Backdating the injury to today, Estrada would be eligible to return from a stint on the 15-day DL on July 18, missing just 11 team games and one start. It might not be a bad idea to just shelve Estrada now and give him two full weeks to recover for the stretch run.

Drew Hutchison is the prime candidate to make the spot start for Estrada, so despite manager John Gibbons’ claims that Hutchison had a ticket back to Buffalo, the Blue Jays will hold off until they know more about the seriousness of Estrada’s injury before making a move. (In any case, Hutchison will have to pass through optional waivers again before being demoted.)