Blue Jays’ Manoah struggles in first spring outing, pulled after 38 pitches

Watch all the highlights from Alek Manoah's first spring training start for the Blue Jays vs. the Tigers in 2024. Courtesy: Sidestep Productions

In his first outing of spring training against the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah struggled to find the zone, plunking three batters and giving up four runs before being pulled in the second inning.

Hoping for a strong start to the spring, Manoah finished with three hits, four earned runs, a walk and three batters hit over one and two-thirds innings. His command faltered, as only 17 of his 38 pitches were in the zone.

He gave up a single to the first batter he faced, outfielder Riley Greene, then proceeded to hit Spencer Torkelson and Mark Canha to load the bases without recording his first out.

Though he then managed to swing a double-play on the next batter, forcing Greene out at home, he would give up a two-run double to Cole Keith before ending the first inning with a Javier Baez line-out.

To start the second inning, he hit Carson Kelly, got two outs, then walked Greene before giving up another two-run double, forcing manager John Schneider’s hand and taking him out of the game.

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His fastball velocity saw an uptick, sitting at about 93.7 mph, up from the 92.8 mph mark he sat at last season.

Manoah chose to look on the bright side after the outing, calling his first spring outing an “inexpensive experience.”

He mentioned that last season he was “chasing velocity,” and feels more comfortable and confident now that it’s coming naturally, hoping that the uptick will lead to him being able to refine his control.

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Manoah, 26, is hoping for a bounce-back year after struggling mightily in the 2023 season. He pitched to a 3-9 record and a 5.87 ERA last year and spent time with triple-A Buffalo. He had trouble with his control, giving up 6.1 walks per nine innings.

His down-year came after a breakout 2022 season that saw him finish with a 16-7 record, 2.24 ERA and 2.3 walks per nine innings. He was named to his first all-star game and finished third in AL Cy Young voting.

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