Ferguson: Morrow injury could cost Jays chance at playoffs

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Scott Ferguson
6/13/2012 11:20:20 AM
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Depending on the recovery time of Brandon Morrow, the Toronto Blue Jays season could be hanging in the balance.

This much we know, Morrow, who suffered a strained left oblique muscle after throwing only nine pitches against Washington on Monday, is going on the 15 day disabled list. The time it takes come back from this injury is unpredictable and varies case to case

Here's a worse case scenario going back a few years. Chris Young now with the Mets,  was pitching with the Padres in 2007. He was having an incredible season with a 9-3 record and a 1.85 era when he strained an oblique on July 24th. He returned August 9th and didn't win another game for the rest of the season.

From a 2008 article in USA today, I discovered, Stan Conte who's been a trainer with the Giants and the Dodgers did a study of these painful injuries to these key abdominal muscles that connect to the bottom of the rib cage. He found it takes a position player an average of 44 days to return from a strained oblique. Pitchers took 50% longer likely because of the added torque they put on their torsos with every pitch.

There have been medical advances in the treatment of this injury and every case is different.  But using the Conte model, Morrow could be out 66 days or two months if you will.

It says here if Morrow is gone that long, the Jays' post-season dreams will be severely damaged if not ruined. You just can't go out and find a pitcher of the caliber of Morrow in June and maybe not even at the deadline unless that pitcher is in the final year of his contract or has the kind of contract a team is just trying to dump.

The top two candidates to replace Morrow, at least in the short term are Jesse Chavez and veteran lefty Brett Cecil. If by any chance Henderson Alavarez is sent down , maybe they both get called up, with Cecil starting Sunday and Chavez Tuesday.

A Short Stay

I was sorry to see things didn't work out for the Jays and Vladimir Guerrero.  I can completely understand why the 37-year-old Hall of Famer was pushing hard for a call-up.

However, the Jays couldn't let a player force their hand especially when outside of one four hit game, Guerrero wasn't exactly putting up stellar numbers as Las Vegas.

In the few highlights I saw, Vladdy didn't exactly seem to be running that well either. Cleveland, Oakland and maybe Detroit would seem to be his best shot for future employment

Even in mid-June, the numbers are starting to stack up against the Jays with 100 games to go.  They'd have to go 60-40 to finish with 91 victories, which might be what it would take just to grab a wild card slot. Right now they are 31-31 and in 8th place overall in the American League.

Bon Chance!

Brandon Morrow (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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