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17th of July 2018

Travel



Blue Jays’ Estrada frustrated with setback, but hopes to make his next start

The Blue Jays are hoping that a mild left glute strain suffered by right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada won’t turn out to be too much of a pain in the, uh, gluteus maximus.

Estrada was forced to leave Toronto’s game at the Rogers Centre against the New York Mets on Tuesday after facing only three batters (and giving up a two-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera). There are now three Toronto starting pitchers hurt, with RHP Aaron Sanchez (right index finger contusion) and LHP Jaime Garcia (left should inflammation) still on the DL.

The good news is that Sanchez appears to be close to returning (he took pitcher’s fielding practice on Wednesday) and Garcia long tossed and felt good and will be re-evaluated for mound progression later this week.

Estrada is hopeful that he will be able to make his next scheduled start, which is possible given that the Jays have off days on Thursday and next Monday before travelling to Atlanta and then Boston.

“You’d like to give him a start (before the all-star break) in Boston,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “But if you can’t, you can’t.”

Estrada said that he has been fighting through the pain from his strained glute for some time, in fact it bothered him after his start on June 22 in Anaheim. Up until the game against the Mets on Tuesday, he had been pitching through pain and in fact wanted to stay in the game, hoping that the muscle would loosen up a little bit. But Gibbons decided after visiting the mound that it was the right move to take him out of the game.

“I wanted to (at least) try to finish the inning,” said Estrada, who is 4-7 with a 4.72 ERA. “But Gibby knew, and it was the right call. I probably shouldn’t have been out there. I was hoping if I throw a few more pitches it would loosen up a little bit more, but it just never did. It was definitely the right call. And I’m glad he did, because, who knows, someone else might have left me in there and might have made it worse.”

Estrada said the setback is frustrating because he had been pitching well of late. He is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA in his past seven games.

“Mechanically I’ve been feeling really good. I feel like my timing’s on point right now,” said the finesse right-hander. “I have been making better pitches, a little more quality pitches. It was tough in Houston (June 27) trying to get through some of those (innings). I’ve been at a good place, pitching well and the team’s been playing well. So I want to be there for all of this. So it sucks that I had to leave the game after only getting one out (Tuesday). These things happen, can’t really control it. My goal is to work on it as much as I can and hopefully be ready for the next (start).”

A MAN FOR ALL POSITIONS

After starting at shortstop on Tuesday, rookie infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. started at second base against the Mets on Wednesday. Gibbons said he’s going to play Gurriel consistently for the rest of the season and may even try him in the outfield to see what he brings to the table. The Jays are intrigued with Gurriel’s athleticism. The 24-year-old Cuban hit a two-run homer on Tuesday in the eighth inning to lead Toronto over the Mets, 8-6.

IMPROMPTU MOTHER’S DAY

Gibbons’ mom Sallie will throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Friday before the Blue Jays’ game at the Rogers Centre against the New York Yankees. “She just turned 80 and will bring a couple of her granddaughters (here).  It has been a dream of hers,” said the Toronto manager, adding that his mom still rides horses and cleans stalls at her place in Texas.

AROUND THE DIAMOND

RHP Preston Guilmet has been designated for assignment and LHP Tim Mayza has been optioned to triple-A Buffalo. RHP Luis Santos and RHP Rhiner Cruz have been selected to the active roster for tonight’s game … This weekend, the Lady Jays will host the 34th Annual Lady Jays Food Drive, in support of Food Banks Canada. Fans attending the games on Saturday and Sunday can donate non-perishable food items or make a monetary contribution at any gate.

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