WASHINGTON — Matt Shoemaker will be the starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays in their next game, whenever that might be.
Shoemaker has gone the longest since his last start among Toronto’s rotation. He allowed one run over six innings in the Blue Jays’ 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25.
The veteran right-hander’s next start comes as Major League Baseball’s season continues to be clouded by doubt.
“From a player standpoint, hectic to say the least,” said Shoemaker. “As a team we got together and said ‘we just have to control what we can control.’
“Whether we play or not, whether they’re postponed, that’s beyond our control, so we just have to roll with it.”
Another game was postponed on Saturday by the COVID-19 pandemic, for a total of 17 games MLB has had to reschedule including Toronto’s three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend.
Philadelphia reported no new positive tests on Saturday after the Phillies were sidelined for at least a week following a series against the Miami Marlins. Two Phillies staff members previously tested positive.
“We’re just staying mentally ready,” said Shoemaker. “We think we should have been in playing in Philly this weekend.
“Since no players got it we thought we’d be playing this weekend.”
More than 20 members of the Marlins’ travelling party have tested positive for COVID-19.
Toronto — using Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., for their first “homestand” of 2020 — will instead spend the weekend doing intense workouts.
“We’re going to try to do the same thing we did before the season started,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo on Saturday. “Trying to get as close as game speed as we can with our players. Live batting practice, guys need to throw.”
The Blue Jays are scheduled to play in Atlanta against the Braves on Tuesday which, for now, would be when Shoemaker gets the start.
Montoyo said his clubhouse is not rattled by the constantly shifting season, standing during his video news conference to point out a slogan on his shirt that read “We don’t quit.”
“My focus is on today, trying to get them ready and be ready for Tuesday,” said Montoyo.
He did, however, acknowledge that Toronto’s coaching staff is regularly reminding the players to be conscientious about safety protocols designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“We do every day, we really do,” said Montoyo. “Just because we do it doesn’t mean somebody won’t test positive, though. When you move from hotel to hotel, stuff can happen.
“But yeah, we (talk about it) every day. We’re trying to follow all the protocols.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2020.
— By John Chidley-Hill in Toronto.
Follow @jchidleyhill on Twitter
The Canadian Press