TORONTO – Alek Manoah is moving up to double-A.
The Toronto Blue Jays pitcher will start for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Sunday as he works to rediscover his throwing form. Manoah will be facing the Portland Sea Dogs, the double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in Maine.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said that it was important to the organization to put Manoah in an situation closer to Major League Baseball’s atmosphere.
“You’re playing under the lights and have people announcing the batters that are coming up and you have an actual bat boy instead of a player running to grab the bats,” said Schneider. “I think it’s just the logical next best thing for him.”
The Blue Jays sent the struggling right-hander down to the minors on June 6 after he couldn’t get out of the first inning against the Houston Astros.
It was a stark contrast to his first two seasons in the big leagues.
After going 9-2 with a 3.22 earned-run average over 20 starts as a rookie in 2021, the six-foot-six Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts last year. He finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting.
But this season he went 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA in Toronto before being demoted to the minors to focus on his delivery and throwing strikes.
Schneider said that pitching at the double-A level will give the Blue Jays a better sense of how far Manoah has progressed since the demotion.
“I think (double A) just gives him and us a better feel of where everything’s at,” said Schneider.
Manoah looked shaky in an appearance in the Florida Complex League on June 26.
Pitching for the FCL Blue Jays against the Yankees at New York’s minor-league complex, the 25-year-old gave up 11 runs on 10 hits, including two homers, and two walks against a lineup composed mostly of teenagers 17 to 19 years of age.
Both the FCL and double A have pitch clocks, with the latter’s shorter than the time allowed pitchers in MLB.
Toronto also recalled right-handed pitcher Thomas Hatch on Saturday from its triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y. Righty Trent Thornton was optioned to the Buffalo Bisons in a corresponding move.
Hatch has not allowed a run over 3 2/3 innings pitched for Toronto this season, striking out eight as a reliever.
Thornton has a 1.69 ERA over 5 1/3 innings pitched with five strikeouts. He was tagged for a run in the Blue Jays’ 5-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2023.
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