TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Toronto After a morning filled with meetings, TORONTO BLUE JAYS President / CEO PAUL GODFREY headed back to his office, where an unexpected message awaited his arrival Friday afternoon. General Manager J.P. RICCIARDI had some bad news. ROY HALLADAY arrived at ROGERS CENTRE, very pale in the face and complaining of a sharp pain on his right side.
The team promptly sent him over to MT. SINAI HOSPITAL, where Dr. ALLAN GROSS indicated that the ace of Toronto's rotation had a case of acute appendicitis and was in immediate need of surgery to remove his appendix. The ballclub then placed Halladay on the 15-day disabled list and he is now expected to miss at least four to six weeks as a result of the injury, being a problem the pitcher insisted was not to blame for his recent string of poor performances.
The news came one day after Blue Jays All-Star closer B.J. RYAN underwent TOMMY JOHN elbow ligament replacement surgery, which will sideline him until next season. “When I told him,” said Ricciardi, recalling his meeting with Godfrey, “we kind of just shook our heads, laughed and said, ' What more could happen ?' It's not that you get numb to it. You just deal with it. What can you do?”
Halladay and Ryan are the latest to join Toronto's growing list of walking wounded, which has been a large factor in the club's free fall down the American League East standings. The team is also currently without starting C GREGG ZAUN (broken right thumb), LHP GUSTAVO CHACIN (sore left shoulder), OF REED JOHNSON (back injury) and RHP VICTOR ZAMBRANO (right forearm strain).
Before the season even began, Toronto lost would-be setup man BRANDON LEAGUE, starter JOHN THOMSON and reliever DAVIS ROMERO to varying shoulder injuries. Third baseman TROY GLAUS, who previously had missed 14 games with a bone spur in his left heel, then exited Friday's contest with an injury to his left foot.
“It's not been a pretty picture so far,” Godfrey said.” You're almost afraid to wake up in the morning, because you might find out the phone rings and there's another injury. It’s something you have to live with and something you have to play through. There's no doubt other teams have injuries, but we've had more than our share this year.”
Ricciardi learned of Halladay's injury around 1:30 p.m. ET during a workout in the weight room at ROGERS CENTRE. Toronto head trainer GEORGE POULIS informed Ricciardi about the pitcher's ailment and the GM instructed Poulis to send Halladay to the hospital, where he underwent a CAT scan to determine the problem. Shortly thereafter, he had the operation.
“From what I'm told, he came in and he looked awful,” Godfrey said. “He looked white as a sheet and sort of doubled over in pain. The trainer knew almost immediately that he was having some sort of appendix [problem].” According to Godfrey, before undergoing surgery, Halladay told Poulis that the injury had nothing to do with his poor outing against the Red Sox on Thursday night. In that start, the former American League Cy Young Award winner yielded eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits over five innings.
“When I heard about [the injury], the first question I obviously asked was, ‘Was this part of the performance last night ?’” Godfrey said.” Poulis emphasized that Roy wanted to make it clear that this did not affect his performance last night. This came on afterward. He's a standup guy and if he said that, I believe him.” It was the second straight subpar performance for Halladay, who gave up nine runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings in a loss to the Rangers on 5 May. The recent performance has been a drastic contrast to Halladay's showing in April, when he went 4-0 with a 2.28 ERA in six outings en route to the AL Pitcher of the Month Award.
For the season, Halladay is 4-2 with a 4.37 ERA in eight starts for Toronto. After his defeat to Boston on Thursday, Halladay cited poor mechanics as being a problem for the last three or four outings, and he added that there was nothing wrong with him health-wise. “I don't feel like I'm getting on top of the ball very good,” Halladay said. “I feel like I'm underneath the ball, kind of pushing everything. To me, that's especially going to affect cutters and curveballs, because to get those pitches to move the way you want them to, you have to be on top of the ball. I'm just not getting up there right now.”
With Halladay now on the DL, the Blue Jays need to find a replacement for him in the rotation. Halladay's next scheduled start was going to be against Baltimore on Tuesday, and Ricciardi said the club will discuss the situation after Friday's game against the TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS. One option could be to move right-hander CASEY JANSSEN from the bullpen to the rotation, where he made 17 starts for Toronto as a rookie in 2006. Ricciardi said it's more likely that the Blue Jays will dip into the Minor League for someone to fill in for their injured ace.
“We've got some young kids that are going to get an opportunity now,” Ricciardi said. “We've got some guys pitching well in Triple-A, and even some guys pitching well in Double-A. We'll just see who can probably handle giving us those innings and giving us a chance to win.”
Major League Baseball 12 May 2007