Atkins shares 'optimistic' update on Giles

July 31st, 2020

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays got what they consider to be good news on closer , who went on the injury list earlier this week with a right forearm strain.

More specifically, general manager Ross Atkins said Friday that Giles is dealing with a “forearm mass strain” on his flexor muscle. Giles has received a PRP injection, so the Blue Jays expect to have a clearer timeline on his return within the next two weeks.

“Of all of the scenarios that could have come out of the MRI and his visits with medical professionals and experts, it’s certainly on the better end of the spectrum,” Atkins said. “I’m very optimistic that we’ll see him pitching again soon.”

With any injury to the forearm or elbow of a pitcher, the worry, of course, is the worst-case scenario. So while the Blue Jays would prefer Giles was healthy, this news still comes as a relief.

Giles was removed from last Sunday’s game against the Rays in the middle of an at-bat after his fastball velocity took a worrying dip and he lost control of the zone. Toronto’s bullpen has stumbled a couple of times without him, but that’s been due more to poor individual performances than struggles across the board.

In Giles’ place, has filled the closer’s role admirably with four scoreless outings and his first save of the 2020 season. Canadian right-hander has been a revelation, too, with six strikeouts over four scoreless innings, and he is quickly becoming one of Charlie Montoyo’s go-to arms in a variety of roles.

“I do want to be a high-leverage guy,” Romano said. “If that’s the fifth through the ninth, I like pitching with guys on base when the game’s on the line. Down the road, I want to prove myself and I do want to be a closer in the future. That’s one of my goals. Right now, wherever they need me to be, I’ll pitch.”

Under control
The catchphrase of the 2020 Blue Jays is “controlling what we can control.” Montoyo has said it, players have said it. And on Friday, that’s the message Atkins delivered.

“What we’re focused on is our players, the well-being and safety of all and things that we can control,” Atkins said. “Our players have been great and our staff have been great. We’ll continue to focus on the protocols and do the best that we can.”

Some players and staff are choosing to go beyond MLB’s protocols for distancing or social isolation away from the ballpark, and Atkins stressed that the focus isn’t just on their own team, but the “communities” around them, which can include everyone from hotel staff to stadium staff and many in between.

Latest on Buffalo
Atkins checked in on the upgrades to Sahlen Field in Buffalo recently as they work to add additional resources to bring the park up to MLB standards and meet health protocols.

“We’ll be having a lot of outside space for players to prepare and train, get ready and recover,” Atkins said. “We’ll have batting cages and places to throw; throw bullpens, even, in the concourses.”

The clubhouse has been completely redesigned and now takes up much of the space underneath the bleachers, with eight feet between each player. The Blue Jays will also be using plenty of space in the bleachers as additional dugout seating.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to play their first game in Buffalo on Aug. 11 against the Marlins.

• Randal Grichuk (back tightness) is feeling good and is expected to be back in the lineup when the Blue Jays resume play on Tuesday.

• Travis Shaw is still away from the club after being placed on family medical leave, but is expected to return for the upcoming series in Atlanta, as well.

• Atkins said that outfielder Jonathan Davis is “very much in our mix,” and hit a home run while facing live pitching at the alternate training site on Thursday.