The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Marcus Stroman has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a blister on his right middle finger. Right-hander Justin Shafer had his contract selected from Triple-A while Aaron Sanchez was shifted to the 60-day DL (retroactive to June 22) to create a 40-man spot for Shafer. Left-hander Thomas Pannone was also recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, with righty Luis Santos going down to Buffalo in a corresponding move.
Though this is the first time the problem has forced Stroman to the DL, he has been bothered by blister issues dating back to last season, and Stroman had been particularly hampered by the blister over his last few starts. His outing against the Yankees yesterday was cut short after just four innings, and finally necessitated a DL stint to fully rest and treat the bothersome finger.
The blister is the latest setback in what has become a lost season for Stroman (and the Jays as a whole). The righty looked to have emerged as a frontline starter after an outstanding 2017 campaign, but Stroman battled shoulder problems in Spring Training and got off to a rough start in 2018 before eventually landing on the disabled list to address his shoulder issues. He has been decent, if inconsistent, since returning from the DL, posting a 3.84 ERA over 63 1/3 innings.
All told, Stroman has delivered just a 5.27 ERA, 6.8 K/9, and 2.11 K/BB rate over 100 2/3 frames this season. ERA predictors (3.92 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 4.02 SIERA) paint a more favorable view of his performance, and it’s worth noting that the Jays’ poor infield defense is a particular impediment to a groundball-inducing pitcher like Stroman, who has a 62.4% grounder rate this season. Stroman’s contact rates are up, however, from his 2017 totals, and his .324 wOBA is actually outperforming his .332 xwOBA, so it’s more than just bad luck that has led to his struggles.
Pannone will take Stroman’s spot in the rotation and will start for Toronto on Wednesday against Baltimore. The 24-year-old made his big league debut earlier this season out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen, tossing three innings over three games. Shafer will also be getting his first taste of MLB action, after tossing 358 2/3 innings in the minors since being taken by the Jays in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. Shafer has pitched exclusively as a reliever over the last two seasons, and he has posted a 1.55 ERA, 1.94 K/BB rate, 7.3 K/9 and zero home runs allowed over 40 2/3 IP at the Triple-A level.