09/23/08 8:02 PM ET
Jays decide to shut down Purcey
With extended mileage on arm, southpaw will miss final start
By David Singh / MLB.com
Concerned about the number of innings the rookie has logged this year, Toronto wants to assure that Purcey would be healthy going into next season, when he is expected to compete for a job in its starting rotation.
"We just want to make sure he's around next year, so we shut him down for the year," said Jays manager Cito Gaston.
This season, the 26-year-old Purcey pitched a combined 182 innings during his 19 starts in Triple-A Syracuse and 12 with the Jays. That figure is just about triple the 62 innings he pitched in Double-A last year, when a cyst in his left arm prematurely ended his season.
"They're just trying to be careful," Purcey said of the Jays' decision. "So, they're like, 'What's one more start? We don't want to run you out there and run the risk of injuring you after tripling your innings.' So that's kind of the whole point with it. I'd love to make the start. Personally, I wanted to start, but it's said and done. That's the way it has to go."
Purcey -- Toronto's top pick in the 2004 First Year Player Draft -- said that he has had no issues with his arm and that he still feels physically strong.
In his start against Boston two weeks ago, the southpaw tossed a career-high 120 pitches. Then, five days later against the Orioles, Purcey threw only 87 pitches, but surrendered six runs on a season-high 11 hits over just five innings. He has not pitched since then.
Purcey's importance to the future of the Jays' starting rotation increased last week, when Toronto learned that it would be without starter Shaun Marcum for the entire 2009 season, as he is need of Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.
The Jays will also be missing starter Dustin McGowan at the onset of next season. The right-hander had shoulder surgery earlier this year and may not be ready to return until at least May.
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.