NEW YORK – Where was Ken Giles?
It was the question on everyone’s mind when the Blue Jays headed into the later innings of an incredibly tight matchup -- an eventual 2-1 win -- against the American League East division leaders at Yankee Stadium on Saturday and the team’s closer was nowhere to be seen.
The 28-year-old right-hander has been the talk of much trade speculation, he battled through a minor injury earlier in the season and with a trip to the paternity list looming there were a number of scenarios that could have been responsible for the absence of Giles. In the end, it was none of those things.
“During the break, he felt great and then he went [and] got a massage, and from that he got nerve inflammation and that’s why he didn’t pitch today,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo explained after the game. “He was trying to get it loose and never got it loose and that’s why I didn’t tell the press before the game, because we were hoping that he’d get it loose. But he didn’t get there.”
Giles and Montoyo both indicated that they expect the back-end reliever to be back in action for Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees.
“[It’s] nothing serious,” Giles said. “A little fatigue, and I got some work done during the All-Star break. I’m just a little sore from it still, so we’re just being cautious from it. [It’s] just a little irritated, so I’m just day by day right now and so hopefully I’ll be back on the mound tomorrow.”
The irritation is confined to the nerve area in his throwing arm, and it was something Giles didn’t feel would be an issue until just before the game on Saturday.
“When I first came back to play catch today, I felt a little discomfort and I didn’t want to push it because pushing things can end very badly,” he said. “So I wanted to take it [as] a day by day thing, just kind of be cautious. But at the end of the day, it’s nothing serious, just need to let it calm down a little bit.”
With Giles unavailable for the game, and starter Clayton Richard exiting after two innings with left lat tightness, the Blue Jays relied on five other relievers to secure the win.
“They were amazing today,” Giles said. “I don’t want to jump on their success today. They did an absolutely amazing job out there. Hopefully I get back out there tomorrow and then repay them for the favor that they had to cover for me.”