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Monday Bantering: Jerry Howarth recovering from virus, close to 100%

Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

For those who listen to Blue Jay games on the radio, the absence of legendary announcer Jerry Howarth has been extremely noticeable, if not slightly disturbing to have another man on the mic for a long duration of time (not that Mike Wilner isn’t great, but he’s no Jerry).

After undergoing surgery to remove Howarth’s prostate cancer over the offseason, many wondered whether his illness and absence from the booth was a complication of the cancer. Per Howard Berger, Howarth is recovering from a virus. Berger posted on Facebook, saying that he received the following email reply from Howarth.

Hi, Howard…thanks for asking about my health and always being there for me. I am finally seeing the end of my nasty virus that led to both laryngitis and conjunctivitis in both my eyes requiring a lot of attention from three different doctors. I am getting closer and closer to 100% but I am not there yet. So I am going to miss the three game series against the Yankees in New York and then hopefully fly to St. Pete and rejoin the team and be back in the radio booth Friday night. Even I cannot believe I will have missed 15 games…wasn’t that the old Disabled List?

So like the Blue Jays I am sure looking forward to putting a tough month of April behind me and starting the first week of May with healthy pipes and seeing wins on the field. Please thank everyone who follow you for their thoughts and prayers for me…this has been very frustrating and disappointing but thankfully is not at all related to my most successful prostate cancer surgery back in November where they did get it all and for that I am most grateful. Now we move forward as I look forward to getting back behind the microphone Friday for everyone out there listening which has always been my pleasure. You take care! Jerry

It’s amazing how Howarth sounds like his on-air self, even when writing a letter.

Riding on the back of an astonishing eight-inning effort from the bullpen, the Blue Jays won 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday afternoon, upping their record to 8-18 and winning their first back-to-back games of the season.

Aaron Sanchez started the game, his first off of the 10-day disabled list, where he was sidelined with a blister. He was forced to leave the game after completing the first inning (just 13 pitches). Later, it was announced he left the game will a split finger nail, likely caused by the surgery he had on his nail during his DL stint.

The bullpen, being forced to record 24 outs, was unfazed. Ryan Tepera was the first to appear in relief, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing no runs in the longest outing of his major league career. If Sanchez isn’t ready in time for his next start, Tepera may be the man on the mound for Toronto, per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.

Aaron Loup was next in relief, pitching 2.0 no-hit innings, followed by Dominic Leone. In the eighth inning, Joe Smith gave up one run on one walk and a hit, but J.P. Howell ended the inning. In the bottom half, Toronto tied the game on Jose Bautista’s 1000th hit as a Blue Jay and eventually took the lead to complete the wild win.

Today, the Blue Jays head to New York City to play the Yankees at 7:05 ET. Marco Estrada will start for the Blue Jays on an extra day of rest. In his past three starts, Estrada hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs and has only allowed three home runs this season, all of which came on April 9th against the Orioles, when he gave up five runs in five innings. Luis Severino, coming off a scoreless outing against the Red Sox, will start for the Yankees.

You can watch the game on SNET-1 or listen to it, as always, on SN590 (590 AM).

Even if the player isn’t doing well, the business behind him is — and it will continue, per Toronto’s Twitter. The Blue Jays announced yesterday that the sale of grilled Grilli cheese sandwiches will continue until the end of May, benefiting the Jays Care Foundation along the way.

As if yesterday’s game wasn’t memorable enough, the GIFs (is that a word?) it produced made it well worth everyone’s time.

Follow Mark Colley on Twitter: @MarkColley.