Blue Jays’ reliever Pop out with hamstring strain

May 6, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Canadian Baseball Network

The Toronto Blue Jays placed right-hander Zach Pop (Brampton, Ont.) on the 15-day injured list with a hamstring strain on Friday.

They have recalled veteran right-hander Jay Jackson from triple-A Buffalo to replace Pop in the bullpen.

Pop, who has posted a 6.59 ERA in 15 appearances for the Blue Jays this season, sustained the injury with two outs in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays’ 11-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Thursday.

The 26-year-old right-hander had been hit hard in his two appearances in May after a strong April that saw batters hit just .167 against him.

Pop combined with Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) to make history with the Blue Jays in their Opening Day win against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 30. The Canuck righty relieved starter Alek Manoah in the fourth inning and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Later, when Romano entered the game in the ninth, it became the first time in Blue Jays’ history that two Canadians have pitched for the club on Opening Day.

After the Blue Jays acquired him from the Miami Marlins on August 2, 2022, Pop developed into a reliable middle reliever for the club, posting a 2-0 record a 1.89 ERA in 17 appearances. In a combined 35 regular season games between the Blue Jays and the Marlins in 2022, he went 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA and fanned 25 in 39 innings. He also threw 1/3 of an inning in relief in Game 1 of the Blue Jays’ Wild Card Series against the Mariners.

Selected in the 23rd round by the Blue Jays out of Notre Dame Secondary School in Brampton, Ont., in 2014, Pop opted not to sign and headed to the University of Kentucky. After three collegiate seasons with the Wildcats, the young right-hander was chosen in the seventh round of the 2017 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made five scoreless appearances in Rookie ball for the Dodgers that year and allowed just one run in 19 games out of the bullpen in High-A the ensuing year before he was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles as part of the package for Manny Machado that July.

He spent parts of two seasons in the O’s organization before he was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft in December 2020. The D-Backs then flipped him to the Marlins. The Junior National Team alum spent the entire 2021 season in the big leagues with the Marlins, posting a 1-0 record and a 4.12 ERA in 51 appearances, striking out 51 batters in 54 2/3 innings.

Jackson, 35, will replace Pop in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. The veteran right-hander had an excellent spring with the club and has struck out 15 in 10 2/3 innings with triple-A Buffalo this season. He has pitched in parts of four major league seasons with the Padres, Brewers, Giants and Braves and owns a 4.21 ERA in 59 relief appearances.

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