Nate Pearson ready to work, but Blue Jays must decide how much is too much

TORONTO – Charlie Montoyo isn’t ready to confirm that Nate Pearson has a spot in the Toronto Blue Jays rotation.

“He’s competing for a spot,” the manager said Friday.

Unofficially, though?

A spot on the starting staff is pretty much a given, barring an injury or some unforeseeable turn of events, especially with Montoyo making it clear some sort of creative relief role isn’t on the table.

“I don’t see him coming out of the bullpen,” he said.

Hence, the real question around the lightning-armed, 24-year-old now that the Blue Jays have manipulated his service time to delay his free agency by a year, is how many innings will he be capable of safely logging this year?

It’s a question that’s stuck to Pearson since a comebacker fractured his right ulna, a long bone in the forearm, and limited him to 22 innings in 2018. He worked up to 101.2 frames the next year but managed just 18 in the regular season plus two more in the playoffs during a 2020 interrupted by a flexor strain, an injury he described as “kind of scary at first.”

Back healthy and strong this spring, the right-hander insists he’s “up for everything” the Blue Jays may ask of him but concedes, “we’ve got to be smart about it, obviously coming off of a shortened year. … The goal this year is to get as many innings as I can, and to stay healthy…

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