Welp. That about does it. After valiantly fighting and attempting to rehab his nagging elbow injury, 21-year old Jays starter Drew Hutchison says “uncle” and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, as reported by Grumbly Gus aka Bob Elliott.
The timetable for Hutchison now looks like a return in time for the 2014 season, he incredulously typed. There was talk Hutch may return to throwing as recently as mid-July but now he is very likely lost until Spring Training 2014.
Hutchinson, you may fail to recall, was quite good in his starts with the big club. Despite pitching all of 30 inning above A-ball, Hutchison mustered respectable strikeout numbers, pitching to a 4.06 xFIP in 11 starts.
With Hutchison out of the picture for a year, it is time for Chad Jenkins to step into the “I’m not sure he’s ready but what the heck” role, with the round-faced first round draft pick joining the big club yesterday after Carlos Villanueva stepped away for personal reasons. Jesse Chavez was optioned back to Triple-A, we are all relieved to note.
Chris Toman of Blue Jays.com has a nice break down of Jenkins, what he offers and what his former pitching coach Tom Signore thinks about his second half turnaround, in which he pitched better than earlier this year?
Minor league numbers are always dicey as so many factors — bad infield defense and shady conditions chief among them — come into play. We’re told Jenkins is a ground ball pitcher which might (should?) explain some of the gaudy hits allowed numbers of late. The home runs are down (seven allowed in his last ten starts) but the Ks…well strikeouts aren’t really his game.
Just another pitcher (with Deck McGuire apparently poised and return to make his leap to the big leagues) for the 2012 Jays. When Jenkins makes his Major League debut, he will be the 30th different non-Mathis pitcher used this year. Thirty. Thirty pitchers in one season. That is insane.
The debate over the process versus results is not for today (I hope) but, at some point, somebody might have to answer for all these injuries. Is it just dumb luck? Is there a fundamental flaw in something the Jays are teaching or instilling in their young pitchers? I have no idea but this is ugly and keeps getting worse.
It does, however, put the Jays “two games below .500″ status into some perspective. So much talent exists on this roster that they can dip SEVENTEEN NAMES down the depth chart from their Opening Day pitching staff and still manage to stay quasi-competitive, they must be doing something right (as well as something horribly wrong.)