Blue Jays’ Pearson expected to be ready for spring training after hernia surgery

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith)

TORONTO — Nate Pearson recently underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia, according to Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins. The right-hander’s recovery is expected to take around a month and shouldn’t impact his availability for the beginning of spring training.

“He should be fine — he should not be disrupted at all,” Atkins said. “We’re excited about how he finished the year and excited about him building up again.”

The hernia was discovered this summer after Pearson’s season was twice derailed by groin issues — first in spring training and again in June. The 25-year-old was able to pitch through the injury in limited stints, making 11 appearances out of the Blue Jays bullpen this September and October.

But following a series of post-season assessments, it was determined that surgery was the best course of action going forward. Pearson is currently within a four-week recovery period following the procedure and is expected to be cleared to resume throwing after that.

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A 2017 first-round pick, Pearson has been a fixture atop top prospect lists since 2019 when he shot up Toronto’s system from high-A to triple-A, pitching to a 2.30 ERA over 25 starts. He made his MLB debut in 2020 but wound up on the injured list due to elbow tightness only four starts later, missing over a month before returning to pitch out of Toronto’s bullpen in the post-season.

Pearson’s 2021 was similarly uneven due to his groin issues. He ultimately made seven starts and 17 relief appearances between triple-A and the majors, totaling 45.2 innings. The Blue Jays plan to stretch Pearson out as a starter next spring, although it’s reasonable to expect his workload to be carefully managed following sporadic usage over the last two seasons.

“We’ll see how spring training goes. And we’ll see how the start of the year goes,” Atkins said. “But hopefully he’s someone that is in extended outings and giving — whether that be triple-A or the major-leagues — us the impact of someone that can punch people out and pitch deeper and deeper into games.”

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