Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah had a rough outing in his first game after being demoted to the minors, surrendering 11 runs over 2⅔ innings in a rookie-level Florida Complex League (FCL) game yesterday.
The right-hander was sent down to the minors on June 6 following a disastrous performance against the Houston Astros, where he failed to make it out of the first inning.
Pitching for the FCL Blue Jays against the Yankees at New York’s minor league complex, the 25-year-old Manoah struggled against a lineup comprised mostly of players aged 17 to 19.
He allowed 10 hits, including two home runs, and issued two walks during the game.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider addressed Manoah’s performance during a press conference in Toronto, expressing his thoughts on the outing. “Obviously, I saw the line score, but I heard positive things about his strike throwing, delivery, tempo, and velocity,” Schneider said, according to the Toronto Sun.
“The rest of the stuff you can kind of take it with a grain of salt. I don’t think one day, one outing, one report will really change [what the Jays think of his rehab assignment]. I think there’s enough track record and confidence and belief in him.”
Manoah’s struggles began early in the game when he allowed an RBI single to Hans Montero in the first inning. In the second inning, 18-year-old Roderick Arias hit a three-run homer that sailed over the approximately 30-foot center-field batter’s eye.
Arias, who received a $4 million signing bonus from the Yankees in 2022, showcased his power against Manoah.
The right-hander needed 26 pitches, with only 15 of them finding the strike zone, in a difficult second inning. He was eventually chased from the game after giving up six more runs in the third, including a two-run homer to right field by Keiner Delgado.
Schneider acknowledged the challenges Manoah faced during the game and emphasized the importance of focusing on the pitcher’s development.
“We’re not expecting him to go throw a perfect game just because it’s the minor leagues,” Schneider said.
“You don’t know what to expect. You’re just hoping the things you are working on are being accomplished, and for the most part today they were. It’s tough, especially for a pitcher. When you’re at this level, you’re really focused on game plans and execution. When you are throwing to guys you don’t know, you lean on things you are working on.”
Manoah’s struggles have been a cause for concern this season. He was booed by Toronto fans after a disastrous outing on June 5, where he allowed six runs and seven hits in just one-third of an inning.
Overall, Manoah has had a tough year, posting a 1-7 record with a 6.36 ERA in 13 starts. This is in stark contrast to his impressive rookie season in 2021, where he went 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 20 starts.
In terms of his performance, Manoah has allowed 45 runs in 58 innings this season, compared to 55 runs in 196⅔ innings in 2022. The Blue Jays remain hopeful that the pitcher can bounce back and regain his form from last season.
While Manoah’s recent struggles in the minors are concerning, the Blue Jays organization still believes in his potential and remain committed to his development.
They understand that setbacks are to be expected – but what Manoah is going through is getting more alarming by the day.