Dr. Andrews, a renowned orthopedic surgeon, known for his success at repairing ligaments, will be called on early this week to take a look at Toronto Blue Jays new closer Frank Francisco, after the right handed reliever continued to feel pain in his right pectoral muscle, despite an MRI that was performed on Friday coming back completely clean.
The team remains hopeful that the injury isn’t serious, and continue to claim that the visit to Dr. Andrews is more for precautionary reasons than anything else.
According to manager John Farrell:
I think more than anything this is to give us as much information as possible to give him peace of mind and just make sure there’s nothing in there. We have every reason to believe there isn’t, to date, because of the MRI we’ve received, so there’s no structural issues, but we just want to be sure we do the right thing by Frankie and get him checked out by Dr. Andrews.
In addition to Francisco’s slow recovery, another recently acquired right handed reliever, Octavio Dotel has been out all Spring with a right hamstring injury. Dotel will pitch in a Minor League game tomorrow to test out his right leg, with a decision expected on Wednesday on whether or not he’ll be ready for opening day.
Unless Francisco experiences a miracle recovery, it’s expected that Jon Rauch will be the team’s closer on opening day with Jason Frasor filling the set up role as Shawn Camp is looked to for late inning relief.
I’ve been making fun of the number of right handed relievers in camp through most of the offseason, after the Blue Jays retained the services of Frasor and added Francisco, Rauch, Dotel and Carlos Villanueva to an already existing right handed relief corps. Even though it’s two of the additions that have come up lame this Spring, it is worth noting the need for depth because of injuries like these is sometimes overlooked. Relievers, for the most part, come cheap, and so there’s little drawback to having a ton of depth at that position, even though I would’ve liked to have seen the money spent on Dotel instead going toward a lefty reliever.
With more left handed depth, the Jays might not be forced into offering a shot at the bullpen to Marc Rzepczynski, whose durability could benefit more from getting innings in Triple A, rather than becoming a Major League reliever.