COMMENTARY | Entering May 21 the Toronto Blue Jays are 18-25 overall, and in last place in the AL East. While there are many reasons for their disappointing start to the season, a big reason could be the list of players who currently have a spot on the team's disabled list.
Two top rotation pitchers and the team's top infielder being out of the lineup only hurts the Jays when it comes to winning ball games. But just how close are we to seeing these players back in the lineup? Some may be back sooner than you think.
Josh Johnson, Pitcher:
One of the star acquisitions by the Blue Jays in the offseason was former All-Star pitcher Josh Johnson. Unfortunately, like the rest of the team, Johnson's season didn't get off to a great start, and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 2 with a right triceps inflammation. On May 20, Johnson pitched in his first minor league rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin. He went three innings and gave up three hits and one earned run while striking out four. It was a good first step for a man who will be relied on to help turn the Jays season around when he returns in early-to-mid June.
J.A. Happ, Pitcher:
Happ went on the 15-day DL on May 8 after being struck in the head with a line drive in Toronto's game against Tampa Bay on May 7. He suffered a skull fracture, but was able to avoid a concussion from the blow. At the time he was expected to miss three to six weeks because of the injury, however, it's not the head that's keeping him from pitching. Happ is suffering from a knee injury that he suffered during the fall to the ground from the line drive. As of May 18, according to the Blue Jays official website, Happ is still feeling discomfort in his knee and has yet to resume throwing. He is still expected to return in mid-June, but with the knee problem lingering, that return may be pushed back.
Jose Reyes, Shortstop:
When Reyes suffered an ankle injury on April 12, the original expectation was for him to be out until past the All-Star break after he was placed on the 60-day DL. But some good news came out this week from the Blue Jays camp: Reyes could return by the end of June. According MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm, the next couple week's will be key for Reyes' recovery which is when he is expected to begin running. Prior to his injury, Reyes was hitting .395 in 43 at-bats.
Reyes is the blue birds' most dynamic player, and if he can return sooner than expected, it will only help a team that needs all the help it can get in order to try and pull itself from the division basement and back into playoff contention.
Rajai Davis, Outfielder:
Davis was placed on the 15-day DL on May 11 after straining his left oblique on May 10. With an injury that heals as slowly as an oblique one does, the Jays and Davis are smart to play it safe with his rehab from the injury. He is rehabbing at Toronto's Florida facility, and is expected to return by the end of May or early June.
Michael Straw is a sportswriter who lives in Buffalo, NY and has been covering baseball, primarily at the Triple-A level, for two years. He began covering the Blue Jays in the fall of 2012, and has been published in multiple Western New York publications.
For Blue Jays and other sports news, follow Michael on Twitter @MikeStrawQCS.
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