“Hyun-jin Ryu (36, Toronto Blue Jays) is back and out of the starting rotation.”
That’s how Canadian sports outlet Sportsnet described the status of Toronto Young Guns’ Alec Manoa, 25, on Wednesday (Aug. 23). Manoa was a highly touted rookie who was called “the next ace” after his rookie season in 2021. Last year, he finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting with a 16-7 record, 196⅔ innings pitched, and a 2.24 ERA in 31 games. Since his rookie year, he has been known to shadow the veteran Ryu Hyun-jin on and off the field, picking up tips and tricks from him.
This year, however, he has been mired in a seemingly endless slump. Manoa has started 19 games this season, going 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA in 87⅓ innings pitched. With only four quality starts, he hasn’t been reliable on the mound.
This was true even after returning from a minor league rehab assignment. Manoa struggled to a 4.91 ERA in six starts since joining the big league roster on May 8. Toronto manager John Schneider, who had envisioned a six-man rotation for the infernal 17-game series, was forced to send Manoa back to the minors and stick with a five-man rotation.
The reason Schneider was able to give Manoa another chance to regroup was, of course, because of Ryu Hyun-jin. Sportsnet wrote that Ryu’s return forced Manoa out of the starting rotation, but if Ryu hadn’t come back healthy, Toronto, with one starter at a premium, could have been further away from fall baseball with Manoa’s problems.
Ryu eased Schneider’s mind and gave his younger brother plenty of time to recover. In his four starts since returning, Ryu has gone 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings pitched. It’s almost as if this is the same pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery last June and spent 13 months rehabbing. Sure, his velocity is sitting in the low 80s, but he’s using his changeup, curveball, and cutter to keep hitters off-balance with clever pitch mixing. He’s proving that he’s not the pitcher Toronto signed for four years and $80 million.
Now, the Jays will have to figure out how to get to fall ball and when Manoa will return. For now, the American League wild card race looks good. The third-place Seattle Mariners have won eight straight games, but fourth-place Toronto has also won three straight to stay within one game of Seattle. If the offense can continue to explode and the starting pitching stays consistent, the Mariners could reach the Fall Classic for the second straight year.
If Manoa can regain the form he had last year, he could be a solid addition to the team as they prepare for the fall. For now, Manoa is traveling with Toronto instead of the Triple-A team, hoping to earn a call-up to the big leagues.
According to Sportsnet, “Manoa is currently traveling with Toronto, and there are no plans or expectations for him to return to the majors anytime soon. It’s been about 12 days since he’s pitched in a major league game, and it’s unclear whether he’ll rejoin the rotation as a starter or as a last-minute injury replacement.
“We’re trying to give Manoah time to come back at the right time and get back to doing his job,” Schneider said. We’re trying to figure out what’s best for him to do to be productive when he comes back. So it’s something that we’re going to have to look at on a day-to-day basis.”온라인바카
Schneider hasn’t completely ruled out Manoa as a possible sixth starter. Even if Ryu is stable now, he’s still waiting for Manoah to get back to his best, as he just returned from injury and needs to be managed and adjusted.
“It’s hard to say for sure at this point,” Schneider said. We’re looking at other options, and of course Manoa is one of them. Whether it’s Manoa or one of our other pitchers, we’re trying to find the right fit.”