Toronto Blue Jays rookie pitcher Alek Manoah has found another “first” in his MLB career, but it’s not one he’ll enjoy.
MLB announced Tuesday that Manoah was issued a five-game ban for a pitch that hit Orioles batter Mikael Franco during his fifth career start on Saturday.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 19, 2021
Manoah, who was ejected during the fourth inning following the pitch that caused benches to clear, is to appeal the suspension.
Under MLB protocols, the suspension will not be officially served until a further ruling is made, so he could still start later this week. If the suspension is upheld, Manoah will miss one scheduled start after the ruling is made.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo earned a one-game suspension for the move as well and will be serving that tonight against the Miami Marlins.
Manoah’s reaction after the pitch hit Franco wasn’t one of a pitcher who looked like he was aiming to send a message. It wouldn’t have made much sense for the move to be intentional, either.
Only five games into his MLB career, Manoah establishing himself as a “dirty” pitcher would likely be a tough sell to Blue Jays fans.
Manoah has showed flashes of brilliance during his first two months as a top-level pro, with a six-inning, two-hit, no-run outing in his debut against the New York Yankees still his best performance of his season so far.
In the grand scheme of the Jays’ season, Manoah’s suspension might not seem like that great a deal, especially for a guy who’s still finding his place in the league.
Montoyo’s suspension matters even less, as baseball teams deal with manager absences and ejections all the time. Nine innings without a coach is not a huge deal at all.
But for a Toronto team six-and-a-half games back from a wildcard spot that is already facing pitching concerns, Manoah’s absence isn’t something that will help matters at all, either.