Ryan Borucki's return to Blue Jays rotation marred by Trent Thornton's injury

Trent Thornton had been a reliable presence in the Blue jays rotation until Monday. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
Trent Thornton had been a reliable presence in the Blue jays rotation until Monday. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

With the exception of Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays’ rotation has been a tire fire for most of 2019.

That’s one of the many reasons it was encouraging for the team to see Ryan Borucki take the mound on Monday to help solidify an ailing group that will presumably be without its ace in a matter of days.

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Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, it’s one step forward and one step back. Although they’ll be getting back a starter who sports a 3.87 ERA with a 3.80 FIP in 97.2 innings in his rookie season, the team has placed Trent Thornton on the IL due to “elbow inflammation.”

The right-hander had been the team’s second most consistent starter, giving the Blue Jays 99 innings over 21 appearances. Although his 5.45 ERA isn’t pretty, his 4.70 FIP is much better, and his total performance prior to the injury has been worth 1.2 Wins Above Replacement.

Thornton has impressed with his high-spin breaking ball and ability to miss bats, but his tendency to offer up the free pass (4.09 BB/9) has often been his undoing. With an extremely low groundball rate (29.4 percent), home runs have also been an issue for the rookie.

Watching Borucki and Thornton in the same starting group would have given the Blue Jays a snapshot of what 40 percent of their 2020 starting rotation could look like. Instead, they’ll have to be satisfied with bringing along Borucki and getting him ready for the season to come.

For now, the severity of Thornton’s injury isn’t known. Closer Ken Giles had “elbow inflammation” a few weeks ago and was able to return in a hurry, but any elbow injury has the potential to cause a lengthy absence.

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