The Toronto Blue Jays won 89 games last season and went to the postseason thanks largely to their pitching staff. They were almost exactly league average in runs scored, but the Blue Jays allowed the sixth-fewest runs and were top four in ERA and ERA+. Toronto was a run prevention club a year ago and that is expected to continue in 2024.

The early days of spring training have not been kind to the Blue Jays in terms of pitcher health, however. On Monday, manager John Schneider revealed ace Kevin Gausman is dealing with a shoulder issue -- described as "general fatigue" -- that has delayed his spring debut. An MRI revealed "no structural concerns or injury," Schneider told reporters (per

"It kind of just popped up," Schneider said (per "He didn't really bounce back after his (bullpen session a few days ago). We'll see how he is in a couple of days."

Kevin Gausman
TOR • SP • #34
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Gausman was scheduled to throw 40 or so pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, though that has been put on hold. Alek Manoah, who allowed four runs and hit three batters in 1 2/3 innings in his spring debut, is also dealing with a shoulder issue. Top prospect Ricky Tiedemann has been nursing a hamstring injury as well. Toronto's rotation depth chart looks something like this:

  1. RHP Kevin Gausman (slowed by shoulder issue)
  2. RHP Chris Bassitt
  3. RHP José Berríos
  4. LHP Yusei Kikuchi
  5. RHP Alek Manoah (slowed by shoulder issue)
  6. RHP Bowden Francis
  7. RHP Yariel Rodriguez (slowed by back spasms)
  8. LHP Ricky Tiedemann (slowed by hamstring issue)

Bassitt, Berríos, Gausman, and Kikuchi all made at least 30 starts last season. The Blue Jays were not only the lone team in baseball to have four starters make at least 30 starts, they were the first team to accomplish the feat since 2019. The durability of Toronto's starters was integral to their success, and that durability is being tested this spring.

Of course, spring training is the time to be cautious, and Opening Day is more than three weeks away. Gausman and Manoah still have enough time to build up and be ready for the regular season as long as their shoulder trouble clears up reasonably soon. If we're sitting here in 7-10 days and they haven't resumed throwing yet, then it'll be time to wonder if they'll be ready for the season.

Gausman, 33, is entering his third season with the Blue Jays. He finished third in the AL Cy Young voting last year and has been terrific in his two years with Toronto, pitching to a 3.25 ERA and averaging 180 innings and 221 strikeouts per season.

There are no indications the Blue Jays will go outside the organization to bring in pitching help -- Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell remain unsigned -- though a serious injury could change things.