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Blue Jays Expect To Place Manoah, Swanson, Romano On Injured List

Blue Jays Expect To Place Manoah, Swanson, Romano On Injured List

The Blue Jays will place closer Jordan Romano and setup man Erik Swanson on the injured list to begin the season, manager John Schneider announced to reporters Wednesday (X thread via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). Right-hander Alek Manoah is also likely headed to the 15-day IL, the manager added, though it seems that’ll just be to allow him some extra time to continue building up after he was slowed by shoulder trouble earlier in camp. Manoah tossed 34 pitches in a simulated game today and will continue to build from there. Righties Nate Pearson and Wes Parsons will open the season on the big league roster in place of Romano and Swanson.

Both Romano and Swanson recently underwent MRIs after experiencing some discomfort, neither of which revealed structural damage. Romano has some inflammation in his elbow, while Swanson is dealing with some tightness in his forearm. Neither is expected to miss significant time, but it’s nonetheless a blow to the Jays’ bullpen in the early stages of the season.

Romano, 31 next month, has become a powerhouse at the back of the Toronto ’pen. Over the past four seasons, he’s pitched to a 2.29 ERA (3.13 FIP, 3.14 SIERA) with a gaudy 30.8% strikeout rate against a 9.2% walk rate. Last year’s K-BB% wasn’t quite as dominant as in the prior three seasons, but Romano’s 17.1% swinging-strike rate was a flat-out elite mark that hints at a potential “rebound” in strikeout rate (as much as anyone needs to “rebound” from a generally excellent 29% mark in that regard). The right-hander also tied a career-high with 36 saves.

The 30-year-old Swanson, acquired from the Mariners in last offseason’s Teoscar Hernandez trade, would’ve been the favorite to step into closing duties for Romano were he healthy. He posted a 2.97 ERA in his first season with the Jays and carries a terrific 2.60 earned run average (3.04 FIP, 3.07 SIERA) over the past three seasons. During that time, Swanson has punched out 29.4% of his opponents against a very strong 6.7% walk rate.

With Romano and Swanson shelved to begin the year, closing duties will presumably fall to veteran Yimi Garcia. Setup options include Chad Green, the aforementioned Pearson, lefty Tim Mayza and fellow southpaw Genesis Cabrera. The Jays still have a decent group of relievers, but any team’s bullpen is going to look a little dicey when subtracting its two clear best relievers, as is the case in Toronto.

As for the rotation, Manoah is slotted into the No. 5 spot as…

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