With Giles getting 2nd opinion, who'll close?

On eve of Pearson's debut, vets preach normalcy to Blue Jays' top prospect

July 28th, 2020

The Blue Jays don’t have a final word on closer just yet, but it’s unlikely he'll be on the mound any time soon.

Giles has been diagnosed with a right forearm strain, though he will be getting a second opinion on his injury after undergoing an MRI. Until Toronto has more information, Giles will be shut down from throwing.

“I’m concerned as a friend for him, not only as a manager,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “Hopefully it’s just a strain and nothing more than that, but of course we’re going to look for a second opinion to see what it is.”

Giles also dealt with some elbow issues in 2019, albeit relatively minor. The right-hander was removed in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay after he showed discomfort on the mound and lost control of the zone with uncharacteristically low velocity.

is next in line for save opportunities, and he converted his first in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Nationals. is another option, while and have closing experience, too.

“I feel really good about our bullpen,” Montoyo said. “The moment I saw the power arms, I felt really good, because that’s what you see with good teams in the big leagues. Teams that win, they have power arms at the end.”

Pearson Eve
’s planned debut on Wednesday is one of the stories of the Blue Jays' season. Their No. 1 prospect is as talented as any young arm in baseball, so Pearson is focused on keeping everything else simple to let his talents shine.

“Staying healthy, throwing a lot of innings, throwing strikes and not walking too many guys. If I do all of those things, I know I’ll be pretty successful,” Pearson said. “I know I’ll be facing a lot of top hitters in this league over on the East Coast, but as long as I focus on what I can control and what I’m capable of, I think I’ll do pretty well.”

Pearson had to keep the circle tight after he heard about his MLB debut, telling only family and some close friends, but when news got out, it suddenly became must-see TV for Blue Jays fans. The 23-year-old will debut on the road but as the home team before Toronto calls Buffalo home, which is surprisingly not an unfamiliar circumstance. In 2019 with Class A Advanced Dunedin, Pearson played his home games at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla., as the club’s Dunedin stadium was being renovated.

Ahead of Pearson's debut, veteran pitchers have continued to tell him to stay as “normal” as possible.

“They just told me to let my stuff do what it does,” Pearson said. “Don’t try to be someone that I’m not. The best thing about making your debut is that guys have never seen you at this level, so they don’t know what to expect.”

Borucki opens eyes in bullpen debut
Back in the spring of 2019, lefty showed up for camp throwing harder. It earned a flicker of intrigue, but he was quick to say that it wasn’t necessarily good news. His comfort zone was 91-92 mph, he said, where his control and movement were more natural.

Fast forward to his 2020 -- and bullpen -- debut, and it was a different story altogether. Borucki averaged 94 mph on his fastball, touching 95.1 mph, but developments in his mechanics allow him to harness that now. If he can sustain that, the 26-year-old could be staring at a brand new opportunity.

“Last year in spring, I was a lot more closed off. When I wanted to get to my glove side, I felt like my body had to work a lot harder to throw 94-95 mph,” Borucki said. “Right now, I feel a lot more free and easy. Matt Buschmann, he really helped me a lot during quarantine. During Spring Training, when I went down, I just really focused on opening up my hips and my back side and getting through the ball. It’s really paid off so far.”

(left hamstring) and (back) are still considered day to day, with neither ailment sounding like it will be a lengthy issue.

is scheduled to throw live batting practice in Washington on Wednesday.