J.P. Howell was placed on the 10-day disabled list yesterday, as first reported by Steve Buffery. In a corresponding move, reliever Dominic Leone was recalled from triple-A Buffalo. Howell, sidelined with a sore shoulder, leaves Aaron Loup as the only remaining left handed reliever in Toronto’s bullpen, highlighting a hole that was already fairly prominent.
Leone had just reached Buffalo prior to getting wind of his recall, reports Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star. “Leone made it all the way to Buffalo just to turn back around,” Armstrong tweeted yesterday morning.
The Blue Jays lost their fifth game of the season yesterday afternoon, falling 7-2 in a very ugly game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Marco Estrada, starting his second game of the season, wasn’t sharp, allowing five runs and seven hits over five innings. Things didn’t improve late in the game, as multiple sloppy plays made most fans thankful for an off day today.
In the bottom of the eighth, a run down between Mallex Smith and Troy Tulowitzki proved disastrous. In a seemingly routine play (however routine a rundown can be), Tulowitzki failed to throw the ball. However, in this case, Justin Smoak was at fault. Since Smoak was at second instead of third for some inexpiable reason, Jesus Sucre was able to retreat to first safely, leaving everyone safe. It’s hard to explain. Instead, watch the video here. It’s reminiscent of that triple play the Mariners pulled on the Blue Jays last season.
Still, it’s only April 10th. Toronto had an 11-14 record in April last season, and, especially with three of the Blue Jays’ five losses coming at the hands of the Rays, who perennially beat up on Toronto, the fact that the team is tied for the worst six game start in franchise history should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Blue Jays have a simple, relaxing off day today. Tomorrow, they’ll play the Milwaukee Brewers at Rogers Centre for the home opener.
Josh Donaldson left yesterday’s game early with a lower body injury, but it doesn’t appear to be major. Likely connected to the calf strain he suffered during spring training, manager John Gibbons told reporters that the injury is on the same calf but in a different spot. Since he responded quickly to post-game treatment, Donaldson is confident he’ll be able to play in the home opener on Tuesday.
“I’m not worried about it. Honestly, I think it’s very realistic that I’ll be ready for the home opener.”
Elsewhere in the division, the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers with a four-run eighth inning at Comerica Park. Thankfully for Blue Jay fans, the Red Sox are still suffering from the flu. Mitch Moreland, Mookie Betts, Robbie Ross Jr., Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Kelly, and Andrew Benintendi are all suffering from the infectious strain. The Orioles, playing the Yankees, took their first loss of the season thanks to a four-run ninth, making their 2017 record 4-1.
Follow Mark Colley on Instagram and Twitter at @360BlueJayNews and @MarkColley.