DUNEDIN, Fla – Brett Cecil won’t pitch in a game for at least a week after an MRI revealed inflammation in his left throwing shoulder, but he remains hopeful that treatment will allow him to resume throwing within a few days.
“Thankfully it’s just inflammation and that can be taken care of very simply,” Cecil said Saturday.
The Blue Jays will now assess Cecil’s progress day by day in the hopes of building his strength back for opening day April 6. Cecil, a leading candidate to pitch high-leverage innings in Toronto’s bullpen, was scratched from a scheduled appearance Friday before undergoing the MRI.
“It always gets your attention. He’s one of our go-to guys,” manager John Gibbons said. “But it was good news yesterday.”
Cecil experienced the soreness after throwing a bullpen session Wednesday, not long after a bout with the flu. He believes the delay occurred because he came back sooner than he should have.
“It’s not going to take three weeks, but it’s definitely a little lesson learned,” he said.
Next up is a potential bullpen session Tuesday. The left-hander would like to get at least six spring outings in, but Gibbons would be content to see the left-hander in a handful of games, as long as his stuff looks sharp and he pitches in back-to-back games.
The 28-year-old is expected to close some games for the Blue Jays in 2015, and he could become their primary closer depending on how the team decides to use Aaron Sanchez. Cecil posted a 2.70 ERA in 2014 with 76 strikeouts and 27 walks in 53.1 innings over the course of 66 appearances.
The rest of the pitching staff won’t be impacted by Cecil’s shoulder soreness for the time being. If Cecil’s injury lingers, Sanchez could become an important piece for Toronto’s bullpen, but the Blue Jays are continuing to stretch out Sanchez as a rotation candidate to keep their options open with the hard-throwing 22-year-old.
NOTES: Jose Bautista missed Friday’s game with hamstring soreness, and he’ll sit out again Saturday, but Gibbons said his right fielder is already feeling better and is expected to play Sunday and Monday… Michael Saunders is already progressing well. What would it take to get the recovering left fielder into spring games? “If everybody signs off on it, shoot, we’ll throw him out there,” Gibbons said… The battle for playing time at second base remains wide open, Gibbons said.