Aug. 20: Pearson underwent an MRI, general manager Ross Atkins tells reporters (Twitter link via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet). The team is “not initially overly concerned,” per Atkins. They’ll get official results and provide additional information later today.
Aug. 19: In an ominous bit of injury news, the Blue Jays have placed top pitching prospect Nate Pearson on the 10-day injured list due to “tightness” in his right elbow, manager Charlie Montoyo tells reporters (Twitter link via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet). Pearson, who alerted the Jays to some discomfort following last night’s start, is being sent for some testing but did say he’s feeling better this morning.
Lauded as one of the game’s top 10 overall prospects entering the year, Pearson’s debut effort was excellent. The righty flashed a power fastball and hurled five shutout frames against the Nationals, punching out five batters along the way. Things have been rough since that time, though, particularly in his two most recent outings. Pearson has yielded a dozen earned runs with more walks (10) than strikeouts (9) in 11 1/3 frames — all while serving up a whopping five long balls. Pearson seemed to avoid his fastball last night, throwing it just 40 percent of the time after leaning on it at a 53 percent clip through his first three outings.
The hope for both the Jays and baseball fans in general, of course, is that Pearson is dealing with a minor ailment and can quickly bounce back to health. He’s missed time as a prospect, but never due to elbow or shoulder woes. (An intercostal strain and fractured forearm have previously suppressed his workloads.) Scouts seem to agree that the 23-year-old Pearson carries legitimate top-of-the-rotation talent, and he’s viewed as a critical core component for an up-and-coming Jays club.
For the time being, Jacob Waguespack is up from the alternate training site to take Pearson’s spot on the roster. The Jays are will also activate righty Trent Thornton off the injured list to make a start in tomorrow’s doubleheader. That pair gives the team some rotation depth, and the Jays also have Sean Reid-Foley, T.J. Zeuch, Thomas Pannone and Sam Gaviglio at their alternate site.