NEW YORK – Clayton Richard first felt a little twinge in his left lat during the first inning of his outing Saturday but decided to keep pitching. As the tightness began to impact his stuff when he came back out for the second, the left-hander “recognized that (pushing) any further would probably do more damage than good.”
Once the second inning was over, Richard headed right to pitching coach Pete Walker, exited the game and headed out for an MRI that revealed a left lat strain. He was placed on the injured list Sunday – with Edwin Jackson reinstated from the IL as the countermove – throwing more uncertainty into the Blue Jays rotation.
“It’s tremendously disappointing,” said Richard. “You want to help the team however you can and when you come up lame and aren’t able to physically perform, it takes a toll mentally. It’s difficult to process at times. You’ve got to move past that and create a plan moving forward to get back on the mound.”
For now, that plan calls for rest before he’s reassessed in a week’s time. “I don’t think it’s something that’s too severe,” he said, although right now there’s no timeframe for a return to action.
In the interim, manager Charlie Montoyo said the Blue Jays are “probably” going to start Jacob Waguespack on Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox, filling the void in the rotation’s fifth spot, with Sean Reid-Foley, on turn at triple-A Buffalo, covering Richard’s next outing Thursday.
Reid-Foley’s inconsistencies continued Saturday as he allowed two runs over four innings while walking five and striking out five in Buffalo’s 7-5 loss at Pawtucket. But July 2, he worked 3.1 unblemished innings of relief for the Blue jays with four strikeouts in a 10-6 loss to Boston.
Another possibility could be double-A right-hander Patrick Murphy, who’s been working on a revamped delivery after umpires ruled a toe-touch in his old stride was against the rules. He’d been knocking on the door prior to the delivery issue and is someone who has earned a look.