Third baseman Brett Lawrie was sidelined during the 2012 season, from Aug. 4 to Sept. 6, with an oblique strain. Allowed to play with Team Canada at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Lawrie aggravated the injury diving for a grounder during a pretournament game in Phoenix. He would miss the first 14 games of the season, be rushed back in mid-April, with Jose Reyes injured and the infield springing leaks, and struggle to find his timing at the plate.
Manager John Gibbons bowed to catcher J.P. Arencibia’s wish to play on opening day. Arencibia can’t handle R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball in a 4-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Arencibia would not start again with Dickey on the mound, and it would take until June 21 for the club to achieve a .500 record (36-36).
Stealing second base, Reyes looked back toward the catcher as he neared the bag and changed his mind about going in standing up. He tried an impromptu, feet-first slide, shredded his ankle, and would be sidelined until June 25.
In full-on panic mode, the Blue Jays elevated lefty pitcher Ricky Romero from extended spring training after a single outing in in Florida to test the new delivery he’d been taught. In his second major-league game, at Tampa Bay, Gibbons gave him the hook with one out in the first inning, and he would spend the rest of the season with Triple-A Buffalo until a September call-up.
Righty pitcher Brandon Morrow makes his 10th and final start, allowing four runs (two earned) in an outing against the Atlanta Braves. He cannot, or will not pitch through forearm swelling. At this point, the Jays rotation has lost three of the season’s original starting pitchers to injury.
Coming out of spring training, Gibbons was among many who believed Josh Johnson would turn in this sort of performance all season: 71/3 innings, five hits, no runs, 10 strikeouts vs. the Colorado Rockies. Instead, he made 16 starts and the Jays would lose 12 of those. The big right-hander, obtained from the Miami Marlins, missed all of May and the remainder of the season after Aug. 6 with arm strains.
Following an 11-game win string, the Blue Jays faced the litmus test of legitimacy with a road swing to Tampa Bay and Boston. Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson shut them down, and they would drop five of the seven on the trip.
The Los Angeles Dodgers capped a miserable start to July for the Jays that bridged the All-Star Game. With an 8-3 loss to L.A. in 10 innings at Rogers Centre, the Jays had lost seven consecutive games and 14 of 19 to start the month, dropping 61/2 games in the standings during the run to 141/2 behind, effectively ending their shot at a postseason berth.
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