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Another one bites the dust: Blue Jays lose third starting pitcher to injury this week

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Drew Hutchinson exits in the first inning with elbow soreness. (Presswire)

Adversity is inevitable throughout the course of a 162 game season. However, the adversity the Toronto Blue Jays have faced this week alone is more than enough to cripple even the deepest team in Major League Baseball.

It began on Monday when starting pitcher Brandon Morrow felt a pull in his side nine pitches into his start against the Washington Nationals. He was later diagnosed with strained oblique muscle and placed on the disabled list. A timetable for his return has not yet been established.

[Related: Updated MLB Power Rankings]

On Wednesday, Kyle Drabek exited his start against Washington after feeling a popping sensation in his right elbow. The 24-year-old right-hander was not overly concerned about the ailment immediately after the game, insisting that he didn't feel any discomfort, but was evaluated on Thursday morning and then diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament on Friday.

He'll receive a second opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday, but Tommy John surgery will be the likely result.

That brings us to Friday night, where Blue Jays skipper John Farrell handed to the ball Drew Hutchison desperately hoping the 21-year-old could work deep into game and take some pressure of his overworked bullpen. Unfortunately, nine pitches in — the same number Morrow lasted on Monday — Hutchison called for Farrell and the training staff after feeling discomfort in his own right elbow.

He was replaced by left Aaron Laffey, who got them to the third inning. Carlos Villanueva followed with four scoreless innings and earned the victory as Toronto pieced together an impressive 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the victory will only serve as temporary relief while the team awaits word on the severity of Hutchison's injury. Assuming he's forced to miss time, Farrell will be left with only three healthy starters: Ricky Romero, Henderson Alvarez, and Brett Cecil, who was just recalled to replace Drabek.

''I've never seen this,'' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said."

'We're getting challenges thrown at us from every different angle and health right now is certainly the big one."

Challenges to say the least. The depth of the Blue Jays system is about to be tested like never before, as is their resolve in the ultra-competitive American League East. We'll be watching closely to see how they respond.

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