TORONTO – The Blue Jays hit the reset button on Alec Manoa.
It’s been an amazing two months for a pitcher who just finished third in the American League’s Cy Young Award voting preseason. Not only did Manoa look like a modern-day frontline mainstay, but he quickly emerged as one of the faces of the franchise and was the foundation upon which the rotation was built for years to come.
Instead, Manoah’s “early struggles” eventually became more serious, his mental tactics and deliveries becoming involved in a battle that neither could win. Manoa no longer hits hitters with an offensive approach that perfectly matched his on-mound prowess, and it soon became apparent that this massive right arm wasn’t for a pitcher who simply nibbled on an edge. Do you get it.
“It’s not a spontaneous reaction,” said director John Schnedier. “As I’ve said all along, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help him recover, and I feel like that’s the right first step.”
However, the Florida Complex League is more than just a step. A million miles away.
Geography is key, and Manoa will basically be returned to where it all began in spring training. The Blue Jays’ sprawling, shiny new complex has all the technology and resources a struggling pitcher could dream of, so Manoa should be able to pace himself. Additionally, this process will require patience from both Manoa and the Blue Jays.
“Alec, as we’ve been talking about him for so long, is a man we’re sure will be a big part of what we’re going to do, even if he’s himself. said Schneider. “That environment is the best place to start.”
At this early stage, all the Blue Jays want to see in Manoa is a bullpen session. He’ll fire into the complex with dozens of eyes and cameras pointing at him, but he still won’t be in the game. He’ll join Toronto’s new pitching lab to determine exactly what he and the Blue Jays need to focus on and move forward from there.
It’s easy to compare this to Roy Halladay, who was sent back to single-A in 2001 to rebuild his pitching, but what we’re looking at is the vastly different pitchers, people, struggles and resources. is. Frankly, some stories are rare for a reason, and both the Manoa and Blue Jays teams are in pretty uncharted territory in this sport that puts a lot of energy into avoiding that very area. trying to step in.
Schneider also clarified something else. Manoa is still part of the team, albeit with a different area code. This is not an “out of sight and out of mind” case and the team will be actively working with Manoa throughout.
The organization plans to “get the ball rolling” by sending assistant pitching coach (strategy) David Howell with Manoa. The group will also include remote assistance from Pete Walker and Jeff Weah, with more hands-on involvement from 14-year MLB veteran Paul Quantrill, who is returning to the Blue Jays front office as a special assistant. It is possible.
Amidst this confusing physical hurdle, there is also a mental hurdle to overcome. Manoa’s struggles were never more apparent than in Toronto two years ago when he had to contend with his emotions.
“The idea of ’don’t throw the ball here’ instead of ‘throw the strike here’…that makes a difference,” Manoa said. “
This is far from what everyone expected in 2023, but the Blue Jays are adapting to the new reality on the fly. Boden Francis could be recalled and join the rotation in place of Manoa, but Toronto’s pitching staff just aren’t built to handle more pressure. Until now, Toronto was the only MLB team with five starting pitchers.
from here? this just does the job. This is a tough order with no real blueprint or real timeline.
“Whenever he’s ready, it’s when he’s ready,” Schneider said.
Like Halladay, there may come a time when this too is just a charming note in a long and storied career. Manoah certainly has the ability to make it happen. But for now, this means a complete reset for the Blue Jays and one of their biggest stars.