NEW YORK -- After making an early exit from Saturday’s matchup against the Yankees, Clayton Richard has been placed on the injured list for the second time this year.
The 35-year-old left-hander did not return for a third inning in the impressive 2-1 win over the American League East Division leaders, after sustaining a left lat strain during his time on the hill. There is no timetable for Richard’s return.
“When he came off the mound he went straight to Pete [Walker, Toronto’s pitching coach] and said, ‘I need to talk to you,’” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “And they went down [into the tunnel] and Pete came out [and said], ‘He won’t be able to go.’
“I don’t know how long that’s going to take, but that rib cage [area] takes a while.”
In the midst of a season riddled with uncertainty for the Blue Jays, combating trade rumours, injuries and poor performances from the rotation, the blow is a significant one for Toronto. The team is likely to dip into its Minor League reserves to fill rotation spots at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Thursday, with Jacob Waguespack and Sean Reid-Foley candidates for those starts, respectively.
Richard began his day at Yankee Stadium on Saturday with two scoreless frames, allowing two hits, hitting one batter and striking out one. He threw 30 pitches before the visitors went to the bullpen for the third.
Toronto’s relief corps did some heavy lifting from there, with Nick Kingham, Joe Biagini, Tim Mayza and David Phelps pitching 5 2/3 scoreless frames before sending Daniel Hudson to the mound for the remaining 1 1/3 innings. Hudson earned the save since closer Ken Giles was unavailable due to nerve inflammation in his throwing arm.
“Clayton looked amazing the first two innings and unfortunately he had to come out, which kind of puts the bullpen in a bind,” said outfielder Randal Grichuk, who drove in both of Toronto’s runs on Saturday. “But they came through, all threw the ball well. I was hoping we could keep them off the scoreboard there and really show them kind of what the bullpen can do and needed to do, and they did a great job.”
Richard began the season on the injured list with a right knee stress reaction and has made 10 starts since returning to the roster. The southpaw posted a 5.96 ERA over 45 1/3 innings with 18 walks and 22 strikeouts.
Edwin Jackson was added to the Blue Jays’ roster ahead of Sunday’s series finale in New York, after hitting the injured list on June 18 with a lower back strain. The 17-year Major League veteran will join the bullpen after making five starts and coming in twice behind an opener this year for Toronto. The 35-year-old righty owns a 12.43 ERA over 25 1/3 innings.
“We’ve got Edwin here for length today out of the bullpen,” Montoyo said. “We needed length because we used the whole bullpen [in the first two games of the series], so we needed somebody who can give us that.”