TORONTO – Any chance the Toronto Blue Jays might have to trade Marco Estrada ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline likely disappeared Tuesday, as the right-hander’s rehab outing with triple-A Buffalo was truncated by a blister on his right middle finger.
The Blue Jays said the pending free agent is day-to-day, although the blister will surely scuttle plans to have him start this weekend at Chicago in a showcase outing before the month’s end.
Estrada, trying to return from a strained right glute, was scheduled to throw 60-70 pitches for the Bisons in the first of two games at Louisville, but only made it through 44 over 3.1 innings before leaving the field with team trainers.
He made it through two innings without issue before surrendering home runs to Josh VanMeter and Gabriel Guerrero in the third frame. In the fourth, he struck out Brian O’Grady before leaving the game.
Estrada’s rehab outing was star-crossed from the outset, as he was initially slated to pitch Monday for double-A New Hampshire but his flight Sunday night was cancelled because of bad weather. With the weather expected to persist, he was sent to the Bisons instead.
The Blue Jays believed they could deal Estrada before the July 31 deadline, but given that he hasn’t pitched in the majors since leaving a July 3 outing versus the Mets after just 10 pitches and suffered a setback on rehab, it would require a remarkable leap of faith for a contending club to trade for him in the next week.
The club’s best chance of moving him now is in a waiver deal during August, although that is much trickier and will remove any leverage they might have otherwise had.
The Blue Jays also explored trading away Estrada last July but ultimately kept him and re-signed him to a $13-million, one-year deal.