Toronto Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada would be a favourite to lead the Mexican rotation at the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but the 33-year-old told MLB Network Radio that he doesn’t think he’ll pitch in the opening round due to a lingering back issue.
Estrada first injured his back in early 2016 while preparing for the season. He opened the campaign with a brief stint on the disabled list and was eventually forced to miss three weeks in July.
It was confirmed later in the season that the right-hander was pitching with a herniated disc in his back. This showed in Estrada’s regular season performance, as he posted a 4.27 ERA over 13 starts after returning in late July.
Entering the final year of his two-year contract with the Blue Jays, Estrada is due $14.5 million in 2017.
The Mexican team opens Pool D play on March 9th in Jalisco, Mexico and will face Italy, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The second round, which Estrada references as a potential return date, begins soon after on March 14th in San Diego if Mexico finishes in the top two of its pool.