TORONTO — Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says right-hander Alek Manoah received an injection to relieve discomfort in his shoulder, and multiple tests on the 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist haven’t revealed any structural damage.
“He has been motivated to get back to form,” Atkins said Saturday at the season-ending press conference. “He made the decision to get the injection because he felt as though that was the next best step.”
Atkins also said John Schneider will return as manager next season after the Blue Jays went 89-73 and claimed an AL wild card berth. Toronto lost 2-0 to Minnesota and was swept out of the playoffs for the third straight appearance.
After going 9-2 as a rookie in 2021, Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 2022, finishing third in AL Cy Young voting.
Toronto’s Opening Day starter in 2023, Manoah was demoted to the rookie-level Florida Complex League in June after going 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA. Manoah went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in seven starts after rejoining the big league roster in July, then didn’t pitch again at any level after being optioned to Triple-A in August.
“We saw some signs of correcting and we just weren’t able to get him to a position that he was one of our better alternatives for the rotation,” Atkins said. “I’m excited for him next year and very much looking forward to him being back in our rotation.”
Atkins acknowledged that Manoah was upset about the decision to send him to the minors a second time.
“Any time a pitcher of his success is optioned, it’s a very difficult thing to stomach and he disagreed with that decision,” Atkins said of the August demotion. “That created some frustration. He felt as though he should remain with the team.”
However, Toronto’s GM shot down suggestions of a rift between team and player.
“He has not asked for a trade,” Atkins said, “and we are focused on solutions with him and focused on putting him in position to be successful.”
Atkins said Manoah chose to get the injection after consulting with doctors, adding that Blue Jays medical staff attended those sessions alongside the pitcher.
“It was his decision and we supported him,” Atkins said. “Our medical staff wasn’t suggesting that. He made the decision on his own to move in that direction. He thought it would be helpful. There was one doctor there in particular who thought it potentially could be helpful for him on symptoms he was feeling that were not structural.”
As for the offseason, Atkins said he doesn’t think Manoah needs a stint in winter ball.
Toronto has right-handed starters Kevin Gausman, José Berríos and Chris Bassitt, as well as left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, under contract for next season. Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu, who returned from surgery and replaced Manoah in the rotation after the August demotion, is eligible for free agency following the World Series.