TORONTO – The bursitis in J.P. Arencibia’s right knee is something the Toronto Blue Jays catcher will have to live through for the rest of the season, but he won’t pin any of his on-field struggles on the nagging injury.
Arencibia explained Friday that a tendon in his knee “flopped over the bursa sac and got aggravated,” the bursa sac causing the pain that forced him to sit out Wednesday’s contest against the Seattle Mariners. While he felt ready to play in the series against the Oakland Athletics after testing his leg out in the morning, Josh Thole was given the start, with Arencibia possible for Saturday.
All subsequent appearances this season will depend on him playing to pain tolerance, since “the recipe for that is rest and there hasn’t been any time for that.” He’ll fight a trip to the disabled list as long as he can, hating the thought of missing any time whatsoever.
“I caught a full inning with my hand broken in half (last year), I think that tells you how much I don’t want to be out of the game,” said Arencibia. “That was really tough for me the other day to actually do that, but when I know I can’t even get down to block a ball, I knew I was hurting not only myself but the team.”
The problem in his knee “has been there for a while” but attempts at treating before the all-star break only helped briefly before the pain returned. He said he felt the most pain while blocking balls, but when asked if it affected his hitting, he replied “I don’t think so.”
“I’ve definitely felt it throughout different parts of my game, but it’s something that’s a nagging injury, you can’t do much with it other than rest,” he added. “That’s my back leg, it’s there.”
Arencibia said he’s fine playing with the pain as it was, but that a trip to the DL may need to be reconsidered if the tendon flops over the bursa sac again like it did Wednesday.
As for what caused the injury in the first place, Arencibia was at a loss: “I guess the bursa sac is upset at me, I don’t know.”
MELKY NEEDS MORE TIME: Manager John Gibbons doesn’t expect Melky Cabrera to return to the Blue Jays’ roster this month, since the outfielder needs more time to let his injured left knee heal.
“I wouldn’t expect him back before September,” Gibbons said. “That’s about all we know.”
Cabrera underwent tests to determine whether an operation was required to clean the knee up, but the team decided that rest will be enough for now.
The 28-year-old missed 18 games with left knee tendinitis in June and July, returning to the big league roster on July 21. However, within two weeks he was back on the disabled list with a strained left knee.
TIMELINE FOR HUTCHISON TAKES SHAPE: Drew Hutchison continues progressing toward the MLB level, but the Blue Jays haven’t determined when he’ll return to the big league roster. It’s not clear if he’ll return before rosters expand next month.
“I would definitely think you’ll see him in September, though,” Gibbons said.
Hutchison starts for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons Friday, as he continues to progress from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.
The Blue Jays are hopeful that Hutchison will return stronger than ever from the operation, which took place last August.
“Everybody loves the guy,” Gibbons said. “He’s a pitcher. He just goes out there with a great feel for what he’s doing.”
Hutchison made his first rehab start July 14 with the Dunedin Blue Jays before advancing to double-A New Hampshire. Teams have 30 days to activate pitchers from rehab assignments, which means the Blue Jays must option Hutchison to the minor-league level (and use a valuable option in the process) unless they choose to promote him to Toronto by Tuesday, August 13.
In five total rehab appearances, including four starts, Hutchison has posted a 2.76 ERA with 22 strikeouts and eight walks in 16.1 innings.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos has expressed hope that Hutchison and Kyle Drabek will return to the Blue Jays in 2013.