The positivity from the Blue Jays’ productive offseason has spilled into their Grapefruit League play. The rotation looks better than advertised and the lineup is dangerous. Their top prospects seem ready to make an impact soon.

However, all that enthusiasm and momentum came to a screeching halt this week with a surge of injuries.

Kirby Yates signed with the Jays to add to their bullpen despite his fair share of injury history.  That history repeated itself early in the week.

There was also an update on Thomas Hatch, who has mild right elbow inflammation. After suffering a groin strain, Nate Pearson also appears to be on the mend.

Turns out that Yates will require Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2021 season.

To make matters worse, news broke that George Springer would miss “a few days” with an oblique strain.

Robbie Ray, who has been dealing lately, will miss his next start with an elbow bruise. He apparently sustained the injury on a slip and fall on the stairs. The team remains hopeful he can make his first start of the regular season.

What It Means for the Bullpen

Fortunately, the only player who will miss significant time is Yates. There were already questions about his ability to stay healthy coming into this season.

With Yates out, Jordan Romano will likely get the first crack at the closer job. Manager Charlie Montoyo could also opt to go to a closer by committee approach. Rafael Dolis and possibly David Phelps could also get the ball in high-leverage situations.

It also opens up another roster spot for a reliever who otherwise may not have made the team. The most likely candidate is Trent Thornton, who looked sharp in his first spring start on Wednesday. Anthony Castro has been doing all he can to make it a tough decision.

What It Means for the Roster

Springer is eager to return to the lineup as soon as possible. If he’s unable to recover in time, Randal Grichuk will replace him in center field. Jonathan Davis would then slide onto the roster as a fourth outfielder.

Ray’s injury is disheartening both for how well he had been pitching and for its randomness.

Ray has pitched to a 1.98 ERA with 18 strikeouts over 13.2 innings. He definitely earns big-time “dad points” for catching his child, though.

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Cavan Biggio was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday with a pinky finger injury. He’s not expected to miss much time and is considered day-to-day.

The past few months have been positive enough that a few minor injuries (and one major one) aren’t going to put out the fire. The bullpen will move on without Yates. Springer will serve as the catalyst at the top of the lineup. This slight setback does nothing to prevent Ray from being a solid number two starter. And if the last part of that sentence is correct – he’ll also be a bargain at $7 million.

 Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it! Check out more of my articles here and other Belly Up content here. Follow me on Twitter here

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Graeme Wallace

My name is Graeme Wallace and I love sports I grew up with the Blue Jays World Series Championship teams in '92 and '93. There were some lean years in between but some good ones too, all leading up to Jose Bautista's epic bat flip in 2015. I'm so excited to be a part of Belly Up Sports!

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