Shoemaker to IL with shoulder inflammation

August 23rd, 2020

The Blue Jays were dealt another blow on Sunday as right-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

This news came just an hour prior to the first pitch of Toronto's 5-4 loss to the Rays in St. Petersburg, and not long after, Sunday starter Trent Thornton was forced to leave after just one inning with right elbow inflammation. Already scheduled to be a long bullpen day behind Thornton, this stretched the Blue Jays’ relievers even further.

Shoemaker and Thornton are both undergoing tests, with a clearer update on their individual timelines expected when the Blue Jays have those results. Jacob Waguespack was recalled from the Blue Jays' alternate training site to take Shoemaker's spot on the roster.

From Nate Pearson’s ongoing elbow issue to earlier IL stints this season from Thornton and Chase Anderson, the Blue Jays have been forced to manoeuvre their way around inconsistent rotation health and performances. Shoemaker had been one of the steadier arms in the group, too, averaging just over five innings per start with a 4.91 ERA.

Toronto’s rotation as a whole has averaged just under 4 1/3 innings per start this season, with its 106 2/3 innings ranking the Blue Jays 26th in MLB entering Sunday. Their bullpen has been excellent, for the most part, thanks to the emergence of young starters in shortened roles such as Anthony Kay, Thomas Hatch and Ryan Borucki. Canadian right-hander Jordan Romano has been the story of the season at the back end, while across the board, the Blue Jays have more upside and velocity in their relief corps than in recent seasons.

That can only be pushed so far, though, and sustainability is becoming a concern, especially with 10 games against the Yankees over just 18 days looming in September.

Depending on Shoemaker’s timeline, this could also increase the urgency for the Blue Jays to explore the pitching market at the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline, which is fast approaching. General manager Ross Atkins has already stated that starting-pitching depth would be their top priority, with “run prevention” being the broader goal.

Along with Shoemaker, Thornton and Pearson, the Blue Jays have a pair of stars on the IL in shortstop Bo Bichette (right knee sprain) and closer Ken Giles (right forearm strain). The club is optimistic that both will return this season to make an impact down the stretch, but neither has an established timeline just yet.

Coming out of Sunday, the only three healthy members of the Blue Jays’ five-man rotation are Hyun Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson.