|FreePlays.com Home » Preview: Pittsburgh at Toronto, August 12th, 2017|
TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays will find out Saturday how long they will be without catcher Russell Martin as they continue their three-game interleague series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Rogers Centre.
Martin suffered a strained left oblique and left Friday's 4-2 loss to the Pirates after the first inning. He was scheduled for an MRI exam on Saturday. Oblique injuries often require considerable time to heal.
"That was a huge loss," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's our anchor back there."
He was replaced by Raffy Lopez, who joined the Blue Jays from Triple-A Buffalo a week ago, and did a solid job, going 1-for-3. The Blue Jays already have catchers Miguel Montero and Luke Maile on the disabled list so they might recall Mike Ohlman from Buffalo.
"Russ is the rock," said Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who allowed four unearned runs in eight inning Friday. "He's the staple that's always there. He plays through a bunch of bumps and bruises each and every day, and he's the definition of a warrior."
There is further intrigue Saturday. The Blue Jays will start right-hander Chris Rowley, a West Point graduate, who will make his major league debut. Pittsburgh will start right-hander Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.17 ERA).
The Pirates also had an injury loss during the game Friday, but the situation does not seem as serious as Toronto's. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI double in Pittsburgh's four-run third inning and was later removed for Starling Marte in that inning with a sore left knee. McCutchen is listed as day to day left patellofemoral discomfort.
"I was just taking my secondary lead and my knee kind of grabbed," McCutchen said. "It was just kind of weird. If your knee could get a cramp, that's what it felt like. I feel better now. They ran some tests, everything looked good. It's just going to be see how I feel tomorrow and go from there. ... If I feel any type of hindrance behind my knee then I'll take another day. We're moving in the right direction tonight. I'm walking fine, not limping or anything."
The Blue Jays are playing with a short roster because Kendrys Morales and Norichika Aoki have not been available for the past two games because of illness.
Their status for Saturday was not certain.
Rowley, 26, was 6-6 with a 2.29 ERA in 27 games (11 starts) between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo this season.
He was 3-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 games (six starts) with the Bisons. Rowley was not drafted out of West Point and the Blue Jays signed him to a minor league contract in June, 2013.
After nine games in the Gulf Coast League that year, he had to begin his active duty obligation with the U.S. Army. Last year, Rowley applied for his release from active duty and joined Class A Dunedin.
Williams is 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in his past 16 starts since allowing eight runs (six earned) in three innings in his first start, May 8 in Los Angeles.
He has allowed a home run in only three of his past 14 outings and has worked into the sixth inning in seven of his past nine starts. He will be making his 24th appearance of the season, and his 18th start.
Williams has never faced the Blue Jays. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career interleague starts.