Aug. 7: The Blue Jays announced Mayza’s placement on the 15-day IL, with righty Trent Thornton recalled to take his place on the active roster.
Aug 6: The Blue Jays announced that reliever Tim Mayza dislocated his right shoulder during a play in tonight’s 7-3 loss to the Twins. In the sixth inning, Sandy Leon bunted in front of the mound and Mayza grabbed at the ball to try and tag Nick Gordon, who was running from third base. Mayza missed the ball and Gordon slid into his outstretched arm, leaving Mayza in obvious pain before he was naturally removed from the game.
Mayza will certainly be placed on the 15-day injured list, and now the only question is just how long the left-hander could be out of action. Though the injury was to his non-throwing shoulder, the severity of the dislocation could potentially put the rest of Mayza’s season in jeopardy.
Heading into tonight’s game, Mayza had a 2.41 ERA/3.01 SIERA over 33 2/3 innings, missing a month of action due to inflammation in his left forearm. With only a 20.9% strikeout rate, Mayza was relying on grounders (a strong 58.2% groundball rate) and soft contact to get results. While a .277 wOBA that sat well below his .322 xwOBA indicated that Mayza was getting some good fortune, it marked the southpaw’s second consecutive year of quality results since returning from the Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2020 season.
The Jays added Zach Pop, Anthony Bass, and Mitch White to their pitching mix at the deadline, and yet all of those hurlers are right-handed. That left Mayza as the only left-hander in the Toronto bullpen, though the Blue Jays have done respectably well against left-handed batters this season despite the overload of righty relievers. The Jays relief corps has a cumulative 3.44 ERA (10th-best in baseball) against lefty swingers, as closer Jordan Romano, David Phelps, and particularly Yimi Garcia are all doing very well against the opposite side of the plate.
Still, operating without any lefties at all isn’t ideal for any bullpen, and Mayza’s absence reveals a lack of proven southpaw depth on the organizational depth chart. Tayler Saucedo is on the 60-day IL and has been rehabbing at Triple-A Buffalo since mid-June, plus Matt Gage, Anthony Kay, and Foster Griffin are also at Triple-A and on the 40-man roster.
Left-hander Ricky Tiedemann is Toronto’s top minor league pitcher and has shot up prospect rankings in his first pro season. However, Tiedemann was only just promoted to Double-A, so moving him up to the majors this early in his development (he turns 20 later in August) would perhaps be too risky a move, even for a Jays team in win-now mode.
Looking at the big league roster, Yusei Kikuchi could get some consideration for a bullpen role, assuming Ross Stripling returns from his current IL stint in around the minimum 15 days. If Stripling is healthy and White (currently taking Stripling’s rotation spot) is pitching capably, the Jays could look to shift Kikuchi to relief pitching. A move to the pen could both help the lack of left-handed pitchers, and also help Kikuchi get on track during what has been a difficult first season in Toronto.