It goes without saying that a once promising Toronto Blue Jays season has been blighted by various injuries. As such, it seems appropriate that Jesse Litsch took to Twitter to post the following messages:
Like a lot of people, I was saddened by this news. At one point, Litsch looked like he might be capable of becoming a mainstay at the back end of the starting rotation.
Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in 2004, the Pinellas Park, Florida native made his major league debut in May 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles. I was fortunate enough to be at Rogers Centre, as I watched Litsch pitch 8 2/3 innings, the most ever by a Jays player in his debut.
Aug 5, 2011; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch. Mandatory Credit: Keith Allison-CREATIVE COMMONS FLICKR
Filling in for an injured Roy Halladay, Litsch impressed a lot of people that day. He allowed just four hits and one run, helping the Blue Jays to a 2-1 victory.
The former Tampa Bay Rays bat boy would go on to start another 19 games in 2007, finishing 7-9 with an ERA of 3.81. The following year, Litsch posted a 13-9 record, which included a 3.58 ERA.
That 2008 season appeared to have Litsch on the road to being a long-term starter for the Blue Jays. Highlights included his first complete game shutout and breaking Jimmy Key‘s franchise record for consecutive innings without walking a batter (38).
Unfortunately, the following year showed signs of what was to come. After making just two starts, Litsch had to go onto the DL and was eventually forced to have the dreaded season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Litsch would return in 2010, but did little to impress, going 1-5 over nine starts, which included an ERA of 5.79. There was some hope when he was named as the No. 5 starter the following season, and he went on to feature in 75 innings over the course of 28 games.
After recording a 6-3 record during 2011, which included eight starts, there were signs the 29-year old could yet fulfill his potential. However, he suffered a setback early in training camp the next year, due to inflammation in his shoulder.
Litsch received a platelet-rich plasma injection to help, but it caused an unexpected serious infection. Team doctors had to perform surgery, and the right-handed pitcher was warned it could be a career-threatening situation.
After returning and choosing free agency over an assignment with the Buffalo Bisons, Litsch had to undergo more surgery, ultimately leading to Wednesday’s announcement. He retires with a 27-27 record in 88 games (including 67 starts), a 4.16 ERA and a WHIP of 1.314.
As Litsch said, he hopes to remain within baseball in some capacity. Whatever he ends up doing, we here at Tip Of The Tower wish him all the best for the future.