Right-hander Thomas Hatch made a worrying exit from today’s Spring Training outing, as Hatch immediately signaled for the trainer after throwing a fastball to Aaron Judge. The Blue Jays’ official Twitter feed reported that Hatch left the game due to “right elbow/forearm discomfort.”
Acquired from the Cubs in a deadline trade for David Phelps in 2019, Hatch posted a 2.73 ERA over his first 26 1/3 Major League innings, though advanced metrics weren’t too keen on his performance. Hatch worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen last season, and for 2021 was being viewed by the Jays as a possible reliever or depth starter, or perhaps a bit of both in a swingman or long-relief gig. Unfortunately, those plans may now be up in the air given Hatch’s injury — while more will be known once Hatch is examined by trainers and doctors, it certainly looked like a potential long-term problem for the 26-year-old. [UPDATE: Hatch will undergo an MRI, Scott Mitchell of TSN tweets.]
More from Toronto…
- A possible absence for Hatch adds another layer to an already-tricky set of forthcoming roster decisions for the Jays, as Nate Pearson is also looking at a season-opening IL stint due to a setback in his recovery from a groin strain. Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi looks at some of the Jays’ possible options in shaping their roster, and at least one 40-man move will be necessary since Francisco Liriano is looking like a solid bet to make the team. Liriano signed a minor league deal in February that will pay him $1.5MM in guaranteed salary if he makes the MLB roster, and a good Spring Training performance has the veteran in line to win a spot as left-handed depth in Toronto’s bullpen.
- Both Liriano and Joe Panik have March 25 opt-out dates in their minors contracts if they aren’t added to the big league team, while Tommy Milone’s opt-out is on March 27 and A.J. Cole’s opt-out isn’t until May 15. In terms of out-of-options players, Reese McGuire and Breyvic Valera can’t be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers, which could give them some advantage in making the team. “The Blue Jays would ideally love to stash a few of their minor-league contracts on the taxi squad, with the carrot of a quick call up if needed,” Davidi writes.
- The Jays announced yesterday that they had exercised their club option on Charlie Montoyo for the 2022 season, giving the manager an additional guaranteed year on his contract. In terms of a longer-term extension, Montoyo told told Mitchell and other reporters that such negotiations had yet to take. Entering his third season as Toronto’s manager, Montoyo led the young Jays to a 32-28 record and a spot in the expanded 2020 postseason last year, and now more is expected of a team that made some big offseason investments.