The Toronto Blue Jays are going to give it one last go and enter the 2014 season with high hopes for starting pitcher Brandon Morrow.
Coming of an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm that ended his 2013 season, Morrow has not looked sharp so far in Spring Training. While it is not clear that his issues at the moment are health-related, the team cannot help but be aware of his checkered injury history.
The plan at the moment is to push Morrow’s first start of the season to the 5th spot in the rotation. Per Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star:
"The Blue Jays have adjusted their starting rotation schedule, bumping Brandon Morrow to the fifth spot, which puts him on track to start the home opener against the New York Yankees on April 4……But manager John Gibbons said the shuffle — which he said is not set in stone — is due in part to giving Morrow a little longer to prepare for the season.”"
For his part, Morrow insists he will be ready by the time the regular season starts. Quotes from MLB.com:
"Everything’s coming along well. I got established what I wanted to establish today with the fastball command, with the nice zip and pop on that, and you could see the guys were behind it at times, regardless of the velocity…Everything else has been coming along really well.”"
The longer period to prepare is for his effectiveness and also likely a concession to his injury risk. In the league since 2007, Morrow’s healthiest seasons came in 2010 and 2011 when he made 26 and 30 starts, respectively. Both of those seasons Morrow posted a K/9 mark over 10, showing the blue-chip talent that makes the Blue Jays so anxious to actually keep him healthy.