Report: Alek Manoah's nightmare 2023 season 'likely over'

Though the Blue Jays' opening-day starter hasn't been totally ruled out, it's reportedly "highly unlikely" Manoah throws another pitch this season.

As the Blue Jays got ready to kick off the most important series of the year against the Texas Rangers on Monday, it was reported by Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith that Alek Manoah's 2023 season is probably over.

"Per sources, it’s becoming less and less likely Blue Jays opening day starter Alek Manoah will pitch again this season," Nicholson-Smith tweeted.

Manoah last pitched about a month ago against Cleveland, allowing four runs on four hits while striking out six and walking three over four innings. The 25-year-old was optioned to triple-A Buffalo (his second time being sent to the minors this season) the next day, but has yet to pitch since his last MLB outing as he deals with some lingering physical ailments.

Alek Manoah's nightmare season may be coming to an end. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Alek Manoah's nightmare season may be coming to an end. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Though the Blue Jays held out hope Manoah would be able provide some depth to the big-league staff come playoff time, the right-hander is reportedly choosing to "prioritize rest and recovery in the hopes that his health would benefit in the short- and long-term."

Nicholson-Smith added that though a return to the bigs this season hasn’t "fully been ruled out," it’s considered "highly unlikely" at this point with Manoah not pitching in over a month and just two weeks remaining in the triple-A regular season.

The Blue Jays — who still boast five legit starters and one of the best rotations in the majors in Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi and Hyun-Jin Ryu— will trudge on without their former ace, with Bowden Francis "likely" to get the call if another starter is needed down the stretch, according to Nicholson-Smith.

It's been a swift and shocking fall from grace for Manoah, who went from an All-Star nod and finishing third in American League Cy Young voting during his first full MLB campaign in 2022, to being demoted to the Florida Complex League just weeks into 2023 after struggling mightily to start the season.

The Blue Jays sat in the AL's second wild-card spot — 1.5 games up on the Rangers, who are on the outside looking in — entering this week's crucial four-game set with Texas.