Blue Jays send struggling RHP Alek Manoah to rookie-level Florida Complex League

TORONTO (AP) The Toronto Blue Jays demoted struggling right-hander Alek Manoah to the Florida Complex League on Tuesday, one day after the 2022 All-Star and AL Cy Young finalist couldn’t get out of the first inning against the Houston Astros.

Manoah was booed by Toronto fans after allowing six runs and seven hits in 1/3 of an inning Monday, his seventh straight losing decision. He’s 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA in 13 starts after going 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts last season.

Manoah has allowed 45 runs in 58 innings. He allowed 55 in 196 2/3 innings in 2022. He went 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie in 2021.

Previously the Gulf Coast League, the Florida Complex League is a rookie-level league with most games played at spring training facilities.

After Monday's loss, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said “everything is on the table” when asked about Manoah’s status.

On Tuesday, Schneider said there was no timeline for Manoah's return to Toronto's rotation.

“Whenever he's ready is when he's ready,” Schneider said, adding that he wanted the slumping pitcher to focus on his form and not have to worry about regular competition.

Schneider said Manoah was “upset” when told of the demotion.

“It wasn’t an easy conversation,” Schneider said. “He understands that the performance hasn’t really been there.”

Toronto is the only big league team to use no more than five starting pitchers so far this season. The Blue Jays are 33-28, fourth in the AL East.

Schneider said right-hander Bowden Francis, who was selected from Triple-A Buffalo Tuesday, could be an option when Manoah's turn comes up Saturday against Minnesota. Francis was 0-2 with a 3.45 ERA in four Triple-A starts.

The Blue Jays also activated right-hander Chris Bassitt off the paternity list, and activated infielder Santiago Espinal (right-hamstring) off the 10-day injury list.

Toronto optioned right-hander Jay Jackson and infielder Ernie Clement to Triple-A. Minor league right-hander Zach Thompson was designated for assignment.


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Updated June 6, 2023