Brandon Morrow hasn’t pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays since late May and when he will again remains a mystery.
The starter’s sore right forearm is feeling better but still isn’t 100 per cent and he’ll be re-examined to figure out exactly what’s wrong, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. All MRIs have revealed so far is inflammation but that isn’t a source of much comfort.
“It’s hard to be (optimistic) at this point, I’m just being honest. He just hasn’t been able to get it going,” Anthopoulos said prior to Toronto’s home game Wednesday night versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I don’t know enough about the severity.
“I just know that it’s not safe for him to go out there. The last thing you want is a blown-out shoulder or an elbow or something like that. We don’t know enough yet about Brandon.”
Morrow was placed on the disabled list in early June after going 2-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 10 starts for the Blue Jays.
The 28-year-old has been throwing side sessions in Dunedin, Fla., but there’s no time frame for when he could return.
“I ask our trainers: It seems like we’ve given him so much rest, should he not be 100 per cent at this point? It’s tough to know how everyone’s body recovers,” Anthopoulos said. “It just might be one of those things that it just needs a lot more time than we hoped and thought.”
Another starter who began the season win Toronto’s rotation is left-hander J.A. Happ, who suffered a twisted knee and a skull fracture May 7 when he was hit by a line drive. Happ could return after one more minor-league rehab start or the club could choose to give him a couple more.
“When he moves off the mound it’s still not 100 per cent,” Anthopoulos said. “Obviously he can go out there and pitch, but he’s still a little bit stiff at times with some of the movements off the mound.”
When Happ returns, the Blue Jays would like him to eat up innings. Toronto’s bullpen had logged a major league-leading 353 1/3 innings heading into action Wednesday. Happ is working towards being able to throw 90-to-95 pitches.
“We’ll see how he does,” Anthopoulos said. “He runs deep counts no matter what, so it’s the type of guy that especially with a seven-man ‘pen, when he is back we want to feel good enough that he can go deep enough to be able to protect the ‘pen.”
Right-hander Kyle Drabek, who’s coming off his second career Tommy John surgery, is doing well while Drew Hutchinson (elbow) and Sergio Santos (triceps) are also making progress, Anthopoulos said. Reliever Luis Perez (elbow) is expected to start a rehab assignment in August and would then be on pace to return by September, if not sooner.
That kind of clarity doesn’t exist with Morrow, whom the Blue Jays would like to be a part of their long-term future. So far in the majors, he hasn’t eclipsed 180 innings in a season, but Anthopoulos declined to label Morrow as someone who might never be a 200-inning starter.
There’s just no certainty about Morrow’s short-term prognosis, and what he could bring if and when he returns.
“A lot can happen, a lot can change,” Anthopoulos said. “All of a sudden he may feel great and it may just be two more weeks of rest or something.
“We may see him in three weeks or September or whatnot.”
Anthopoulos was hopeful he’d have more answers in a week or two and certainly in a couple of months. The unknown prevails for Morrow and the Blue Jays until then.
“It’s too early. I don’t have enough information,” he said. “At some point we’ll get to the bottom of it.”