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Estrada (glute strain) hopes to make next start

Blue Jays righty forced to leave last outing in 1st inning
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Marco Estrada says he's optimistic that the glute injury that removed him from Tuesday night's game won't keep him from missing his next outing, but the Blue Jays aren't as certain.

The right-hander, who turns 35 on Thursday, was forced out Tuesday after a lingering glute injury worsened just 12 pitches into the outing. With two off-days in the next week, the Blue Jays can get by without a fifth starter until they head to Boston for a four-game series starting July 12.

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TORONTO -- Marco Estrada says he's optimistic that the glute injury that removed him from Tuesday night's game won't keep him from missing his next outing, but the Blue Jays aren't as certain.

The right-hander, who turns 35 on Thursday, was forced out Tuesday after a lingering glute injury worsened just 12 pitches into the outing. With two off-days in the next week, the Blue Jays can get by without a fifth starter until they head to Boston for a four-game series starting July 12.

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An MRI revealed the mild left glute strain, and Estrada will be treated as symptoms allow, according to the club.

"I thought it was my hip, but it's my glute area," Estrada said. "Since Anaheim [June 21-24], it's been something I've been dealing with. I've still been trying to pitch through it. ... Obviously, yesterday I wasn't able to finish the game. It was just too much for me to take."

Estrada had put together a strong June, posting a 2.35 ERA over five starts, and he was beginning to garner attention as a trade candidate. For Estrada, another stint on the disabled list -- potentially the third in the past two years -- could depress his value as he heads into free agency this offseason.

Estrada is the third potential trade chip to go down with an injury for the Blue Jays, with less than a month until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The team has been playing without Josh Donaldson for more than a month as he continues to rehab from left calf tightness that landed him on the DL on June 1. Reliever Ryan Tepera also was generating trade buzz before landing on the DL with right elbow inflammation on June 30.

"I don't think I'm going to miss much time," Estrada said. "I'm thinking about pitching for these guys and that's it. I want to win, and we are playing a little bit better right now. I know with me on the field I can help these guys win. I really haven't thought of free agency at all. That sort of stuff, being on the field will take care of itself."

Estrada said he doesn't think the injury is significant, it's just in an unfortunate spot as he comes down on his left leg aggravating the glute when he pitches.

"If it was on my right side, I would have pitched through yesterday, we wouldn't have had any issues," Estrada said. "But unfortunately it's on the left side, that's the stride I stretch ... just landing on it bothers it."

If the Blue Jays are forced to find another starter in the Minors, Chris Rowley could be the team's choice. Rowley last pitched on Monday and has a 3.48 ERA in 15 starts with Triple-A Buffalo. Last season, Rowley struggled in a brief stint in the Majors, allowing 14 runs in 18 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays could also go with Sean Reid-Foley, their No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The 22-year-old has a 3.01 ERA over 16 starts with Double-A New Hampshire and Buffalo.

Worth noting
Jaime Garcia threw long toss Wednesday and said he was feeling good. He will be evaluated for mound progression later this week, according to team officials. Garcia has been out with shoulder inflammation since June 23.

• After being unavailable for Tuesday night's game with a stomach bug, manager John Gibbons said Seunghwan Oh was available to pitch Wednesday.

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marco Estrada