Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit left the ballpark last night on crutches, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). The veteran is suffering from a leg injury — suggestions are that the issue is in his calf — that arose during a bench-clearing dust-up in yesterday’s game.
It would obviously be rather disappointing if it turns out that Benoit will miss any significant portion of time. After all, the Jays need him not only for the final week of the season but for the postseason to come.
Things had been going quite well for Benoit in Toronto prior to this. Since coming over in the trade that sent Drew Storen to the Mariners in a swap of struggling relievers, Benoit has allowed only a single earned run over 23 2/3 innings of work while permitting just 17 hits and carrying a 24:9 K/BB ratio.
That turnaround has not only provided a huge boost to the Blue Jays, but has set up Benoit nicely for free agency. He had posted some rough results in Seattle over the season’s first half, but his work in Toronto is more reminiscent of Benoit’s consistently strong production over the previous half-dozen campaigns.