Tallet, Encarnacion head to disabled list
Jays will activate Hill, recall Cecil from Triple-A on Friday
TORONTO -- Simply put, Brian Tallet understands that he is not doing the Blue Jays or himself any favors by pitching through pain. It is more important for the pitcher to figure out exactly what is causing the discomfort within his left forearm.
"Right now, I can't help the team," Tallet said. "It's something I can't really throw with right now. If I can't do that, then they have to get somebody here that's going to be able to help them."
After a 4-3 loss to the Royals on Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Jays have placed Tallet and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (sore right shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list. On Friday, Toronto will activate second baseman Aaron Hill from the DL and recall left-hander Brett Cecil from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Cecil, who nearly made the Blue Jays' Opening Day rotation, will start on the road against the Rays on Friday in St. Petersburg. That start originally belonged to Tallet, but the Jays pushed his planned outing to Monday to give him a few days to rest his ailing arm. When Tallet still felt soreness while playing catch on Wednesday, the Jays decided enough was enough.
"We don't want to take the chance of making it worse," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
Tallet's stay on the disabled list is retroactive to Sunday, meaning the lefty would first be eligible to return on May 3. The recovery process, which will include rest followed by a gradual throwing program, will likely mean Tallet will be sidelined well beyond when he is first able to be activated. Much will depend on the results of an MRI exam he will undergo on Thursday in Florida.
"Let's hope for his sake [it's not serious]," Gaston said. "He's a good guy on this ballclub. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He pitched a lot for us last year. We're all hoping it's not too bad."
The soreness flared up prior to Tallet's last start, but the left-hander said it began feeling better. During his outing against the Angels on Saturday, though, Tallet said the pain returned. Having experienced elbow issues in the past -- he underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2003 -- Tallet said he had cause for alarm.
"I'll be honest, I was nervous," Tallet said. "I've had the elbow surgery before. I've had two different elbow surgeries, so I know the pains that come with each type. This was something that was weird. I don't have a lot of pain in my elbow actually. It's just one of those things in my forearm, there's tightness, there's soreness.
"You get those muscles popping and you get them hurting and it's one of those things where the only thing that can make those things go away is rest. That's one of the things that we're going to do. We're going to take some time off and get it healthy -- get it rested and begin throwing again. That way I can actually be able to help the team coming down the stretch."
Tallet, 32, did not believe that the increased work load he has experienced over the past year had anything to do with his current injury. The lefty logged a career-high 160 2/3 innings as a starter last season after working as a reliever in the previous three campaigns. Through three starts this year, Tallet has gone 1-1 with a 6.11 ERA.
Tallet said the forearm issue had more to do with poor mechanics with his cut fastball.
"It's a case of me losing touch with my cutter, because I do throw it a lot," Tallet said. "It's a pitch that I can throw a lot, as long as I'm not throwing it the wrong way. Throwing it the wrong way put too much stress on my forearm and inevitably caused what I'm going through right now."
Encarnacion, whose DL stint is retroactive to Thursday, has been out of the lineup for the past seven games due to a sore throwing arm. Gaston has noted that the third baseman's injury could be related to the fact that Encarnacion sat out for the bulk of Spring Training to rest his surgically repaired left wrist.
Encarnacion, who has hit .219 through nine games this season, will be further evaluated by team doctors in Florida.
"He's still sore," Gaston said. "He's going to go down with us and he'll be checked out down there, too, and we'll go from there."
Hill -- an All-Star in 2009, when he launched 36 home runs and drove in 108 runs -- was placed on the disabled list on April 12 (retroactive to April 8) due to a sore right hamstring. Over the weekend, Hill left for Florida, where he has been taking part in extended Spring Training. Gaston is eager to slot him back into the Jays' No. 2 hole.
"We've missed him in the lineup," Gaston said.
Gaston is also looking forward to seeing Cecil, who was edged out by Dana Eveland for the fifth spot in Toronto's rotation on the final day of the Florida portion of Spring Training. Cecil, who went 7-4 with a 5.30 ERA in 17 starts for Toronto in 2009, enjoyed a strong finish to the preseason and has fashioned a 2.45 ERA over 11 innings with Vegas this month.
"I hope he comes back and pitches the way he did in his last three outings [in the spring]," Gaston said. "As I've said earlier, this kid pitched well enough to make this ballclub, there just wasn't room for him. Hopefully he comes back and still has the confidence that he had when he left."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.