It’s become an annual waiting game for Toronto Blue Jays fans to hear the words “Brandon Morrow has been placed on the DL,” and tradition held strong on Saturday.
The 29-year-old starter was anticipated to bounce back to his full glory in 2014, but instead will be bounced back to the 60-day disabled list for the third consecutive season, this time with a torn sheath in his right index finger. The right-hander will be out until at least July, but Morrow described hearing a “pop” during an outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, so it sounds like this year’s stint could be expanded with season-ending surgery.
The census amongst the media and fans is Morrow’s time in a Blue Jays uniform could (and should) be over with this latest setback. The club currently holds a $10 million option on him for 2015, and with his track record when it concerns both injuries and recent performance, or lack thereof, and an arsenal of strong young arms coming closer to their major league debuts, it’s a fair to suggest it might be time to let go of what we once had and unrealistically hoped to get back.
Morrow, a former reliever for the Seattle Mariners, has not pitched a full season since he joined the Blue Jays in 2010. He was shut down early that year after throwing 146 innings – a first in his career. What followed was season after season riddled with injury.
In 2011, it was right forearm inflammation.
In 2012, a strained let oblique muscle took him out of the show.
And in 2013, an impinged nerve in his right forearm sealed his DL fate yet again.
In total he has missed 270 days due to injury since 2012.
Over spring training Brandon Morrow was dubbed “workhorse ready” and hoped to finally quiet the critics with a solid year of work but, before the latest injury, this wasn’t exactly going according to plan either.
Morrow made six starts in his season of redemption and posted a 5.93 ERA. In his final game on May 2 against the Pirates, he allowed 11 hits and three runs before exiting in the fifth inning and informing staff about his finger. His last out earned him a total of 30 hits in 27.1 innings, with 17 walks. On April 26 against the Boston Red Sox on home turf, Morrow threw career-high eight walks by the third and called his performance after a no-decision outing “embarrassing.”
Brandon Morrow’s move to the disabled list has now altered plans to establish a six-man starting rotation that would have given an overworked bullpen a rest with J.A. Happ stepping on the mound in the extra spot. Now, Happ will take Morrow’s place with Marcus Stroman finally getting the call-up to hopefully assist struggling relievers who have destroyed six leads that resulted in losses over the past three weeks.