Going on the injured list for at least 10-days, Nate Pearson gets a chance to mentally reset after a couple of tough outings with the Toronto Blue Jays.
While it’s never a good thing for a pitcher to be sidelined with elbow tightness, the Toronto Blue Jays are taking no chances with Nate Pearson.
After telling the team about the discomfort he was feeling in his elbow, Charlie Montoyo and his staff are making sure the rookie goes through as many tests in order to properly diagnose the issue. Considering the club’s recent history with pitching injuries, it’s better to be safe than sorry with one of their more important prospects.
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What this period also allows the team is a chance to properly assess Pearson’s performance so far and determine where the improvements can be made. After showcasing his potential in his MLB debut, his last few starts have raised some concern.
One main issue has been his command, where he is getting behind in the count and he’s trying to be too cute as he attempts to paint the corners.
"“I’ve been forcing myself to make these pinpoint pitches from the first pitch and then I get behind in the count,” Pearson told reporters. “It’s all about getting ahead for me right now and filling up the zone.”"
Not only that but what’s also concerning is that Pearson’s ratio between strikeouts and walks is not as far apart as it should be 14:12; he’s allowed 15 runs through 16.1 innings and five home runs. Clearly there has been an adjustment period for the 24-year-old since his strong debut.
One pitch that certainly needs to be better is his fastball which has had the velocity that we have become accustomed too but, as Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet points out, he’s only been using that pitch 42 per cent of the time. That’s not what you want to see considering that’s his best pitch and was a reason why people were excited with his potential.
"“I’m developing here at the highest level. And when I don’t have my best stuff like I haven’t had in the past two starts, I’m going to struggle — without a doubt,” Pearson explains. “But I know that with my work ethic I’ll come out the other end successful. And once I do figure out command and all the other things that I’m working on, I know it’s going to be really good. It’s going to take off.”"
The last thing the team wants Pearson to worry about when he goes on the mound is what the status of his elbow is. Usually, pitchers will go with their breaking pitchers like a curveball or slider that put less stress on their arm.
Hopefully, pitching coach Pete Walker is able to talk his young phenom into using his fastball more and gets him into the mindset where he needs to attack hitters in the zone rather than try to hit the corners. Major league hitters have a much better eye than what prospects usually see in the minors and having the video to go to will be crucial to Pearson’s recovery.
While some are concerned about Pearson’s status in the rotation going forward, the Blue Jays should be focused on how they can get one of their top arms back on track.
Are you worried about Pearson’s past few outings? Does the injury concern you? Let us know in the comments below.