ATLANTA, Georgia - Brandon Morrow first said he was "hopeful" of making his next scheduled start on Sunday in San Diego.
Then the more he talked, the closer he came to guaranteeing it.
"Even if there's some lingering soreness or whatever I'm going to make my case that I'm going to try to start that game no matter what," Morrow told TSN.ca. "I don't want to say we're on the fence of whether or not I'm going to start it. I'm going to start that game. It's just a matter of how healthy I can get myself for it."
Morrow's situation presents a challenge for the Blue Jays. His right forearm strain chased him from Tuesday's start against the Braves after only two innings, forcing an already taxed bullpen to piece together the remainder of the game.
Working off the assumption that Morrow will be less than 100 per cent, can the club run him out there on Sunday and risk another early night?
Morrow didn't play catch on Wednesday and didn't throw his normally scheduled bullpen session on Thursday, electing instead for a combination of rest and treatment. It's likely the final decision will be made on Saturday.
"Right now we're planning to have him start but I don't know that I can say I'm completely confident at this point," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "It doesn't look like it's anything serious, but again, with Brandon, every day is so important ... There is a scenario where he would need to get moved back a few days but we won't know. We're going to wait a few days to see how he feels."
It's been a disappointing season for Morrow. While his two victories put him in a second-place tie for the club lead amongst starters with Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ - R.A. Dickey's four wins is tops entering play Thursday - his 5.63 ERA and inability to stay healthy have been drawbacks early on.
Morrow missed 10 days in early May, his start pushed back three times, with a strained back muscle.
The matter of his forearm strain is compounded by the pitching staff's broader health issues.
Josh Johnson is out with triceps inflammation, although he was scheduled to make his final rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday and is penciled in to pitch the Blue Jays' series opener in San Francisco.
Happ, recovering from a knee injury suffered when he was hit in the head by a line drive, is still more than a month away from returning.
Dickey's worked through nagging soreness in his neck and while he hasn't missed a start, he's been robbed of his high-velocity knuckleball.
In the bullpen, Darren Oliver and Sergio Santos are on the disabled list and Casey Janssen doesn't know until he wakes up whether his cranky shoulder will allow him to pitch that day.
One could forgive Morrow if, against better judgment, he felt compelled to pitch to prop up a staff which seems to be pieced together each day.
"No I don't think so," he said. "It was feeling okay through the week. I threw my bullpen and it actually felt all right, I threw a pretty good bullpen and long toss that day and it felt loose the day before. I didn't feel it playing catch. But you know the intensity level isn't the same as in the game. It was just getting that little extra on the ball that takes it from whatever it was, 85 or 86, to 93 or 94 and that makes a big difference and then getting on top of the slider was tough because when you do that you can feel the stretch along that strip of muscle."
DICKEY'S STRUGGLES IN ATLANTA
R.A. Dickey was looking for his first career victory at Turner Field on Thursday night. In five starts in Atlanta, Dickey was 0-2 with an ERA of 7.26.
Lifetime versus the Braves, Dickey is 2-5, 5.15, in 13 appearances, 10 starts.