TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada is set to undergo an MRI on his back Sunday, a day after pitching five innings of three-run ball in a 9-6 Blue Jays victory.Estrada has been dealing with a sore back for the last several starts and showed signs of pain during
TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada is set to undergo an MRI on his back Sunday, a day after pitching five innings of three-run ball in a 9-6 Blue Jays victory.
Estrada has been dealing with a sore back for the last several starts and showed signs of pain during Saturday's outing, including sitting several miles below his average velocity. The veteran starter said it was the first time his back seriously impacted his ability to pitch.
"I've been feeling it the last three or four starts, but it hasn't been terrible," Estrada said before Toronto's final game of the series against Cleveland. "It's been something I've been able to deal with. I feel it while I'm getting loose, and once I warm up, it goes away. Once the game gets going, later it gets, the more it starts to wind up again.
"It hasn't been bad. Yesterday it was, big time."
Estrada has had similar troubles in the past. The 32-year-old started the season on the DL due to a back injury he sustained while working out. Estrada aggravated his back earlier this season while swinging a bat in Interleague Play. If Estrada were to go on the DL, he would only be scheduled to miss one start due to the upcoming All-Star break.
"I don't want to, but if missing one start means I'm going to be healthy the rest of the year, it's probably the smarter thing to do, I guess," Estrada said, adding that a cortisone shot is also an option. "It's something we have to talk about, and obviously I'm going to see how see how I feel today."
Despite some discomfort, Estrada was determined to make his scheduled start on Saturday. The Blue Jays used all seven relievers as well as two position players in Friday's 19-inning loss to Cleveland, and they were in desperate need of some innings from their starter.
"I wanted to pitch," Estrada reiterated. "We needed something from somebody."
The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Drew Hutchison on Saturday to help out their depleted bullpen, and the Lakeland, Fla., native would be the likeliest choice to start in place of Estrada. The 25-year-old has made 15 starts at Triple-A Buffalo this season, going 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA. Hutchison was Toronto's Opening Day starter in 2015 and has gone 30-21 with a 4.92 ERA in 75 career games with the Blue Jays.
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.