Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah to have season-ending elbow surgery

Before their road trip opening game Friday night in Oakland, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that right-hander Alek Manoah will have season-ending surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

The announcement came after Manoah sought a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister. Manoah left his start on May 29 against the Chicago White Sox in the second inning with right elbow discomfort. He was placed on the 15-day injured list the next day.

Manoah began the season on the injured list after dealing with right shoulder inflammation during spring training. He made his season debut for the Blue Jays on May 6. He finished third in the Cy Young voting for the 2022 season but struggled last season, posting a 5.87 ERA and finishing the season in the minor leagues.

Before Friday’s game, the Blue Jays also announced a roster move, adding infielder Spencer Horwitz and designating infielder Cavan Biggio for assignment. Biggio was batting .200/.323/.291 for the Blue Jays in 44 games. Horwitz had a .456 OBP and a .970 OPS in 57 games for Triple-A Buffalo.

Biggio had five years of service time, meaning he would have had to accept an option assignment.

Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig, was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2016 and came up through their organization alongside Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., also two fellow sons of major leaguers. Biggio made his debut for the Blue Jays in 2019 and hit .227/.343/.382 over his five-plus seasons with the club. Biggio had developed into a versatile super-utility player, but his playing time had diminished over the seasons, especially this year. Still, Biggio has been a part of the team’s core through their rebuilding and competitive years and the abrupt shock of his departure will ripple through the clubhouse.

How losing Manoah will impact the Blue Jays

Without Manoah, the Blue Jays will need to reach into their starting pitching depth — which isn’t deep.

Earlier this week to cover for Manoah, the Blue Jays turned to reliever Trevor Richards to open the game and then followed with a parade of bullpen arms, including Bowden Francis, who profiles as a bulk arm.

The Blue Jays could continue to deploy a bullpen day every fifth start for the foreseeable future, but that’s an easy way to tax a bullpen that’s already been one of the worst-performing groups in MLB and is without their closer Jordan Romano, who is on the IL with right elbow inflammation.

Alternatively, the Blue Jays can turn to Yariel Rodríguez, who joined the rotation earlier this season before he sustained a back injury. Rodríguez is healthy now and making rehab outings with Triple-A Buffalo. The Blue Jays are mainly concerned with continuing to build up his pitch count — but they need to decide whether he will continue to do that in the minors or if they need him to pitch in the majors, in light of Manoah’s absence.

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(Photo: Colin E. Braley / Associated Press)

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