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Toronto Blue Jays: Is Brett Cecil Out When Brandon Morrow Returns?

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 24:  Brett Cecil #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays sits in the dugout in the seventh against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Anaheim Stadium on May 24, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Jeff WahlCorrespondent IJune 24, 2016

According to Gregor Chisholm of mlb.com, Brandon Morrow is set to make his second rehab start tomorrow (Tuesday) as he battles back from minor elbow troubles.

Via Twitter: "Morrow allowed five runs over three innings in his first rehab start last Thursday, so the Blue Jays will hope for better results this time. The Jays will reevaluate after Tuesday's outing, but he might need another rehab start before being activated from the disabled list."

Even though this is indeed good news, the conventional wisdom is that Jo-Jo Reyes will be relegated to the bullpen once Morrow returns. Turns out that may not be the case.

The pitcher with a bull's-eye on his back could very well be 2010 15-game winner Brett Cecil.

After two rough starts to begin the season, Cecil has a 0-1 record and an unsightly 7.20 ERA. Now, two games usually provides a poor measuring stick of future success, but the culprit for this recent swoon is a decrease in velocity, which has been an issue for Cecil since spring training.

Brett Cecil has never been mistaken for a flamethrower, but he does get his fastball up to 94 MPH.  This season, he's been struggling to get it over 90, maxing out at 91 on only a handful of pitches.

That seemingly small drop in velocity has made Cecil increasingly hittable these past two games, which include an ugly 10-hit, five-earned-run performance in five innings against the Angels on Saturday. 

For a ground-ball pitcher like Cecil, losing those extra 3-4 ticks on the radar is witches' brew that spells nothing but disaster. It softens the break on your cutter, keeps your fastball up in the strike zone and renders your changeup useless. 

Meanwhile, after getting roughed up in his first start Jo-Jo Reyes bounced back with an impressively scrappy outing against those same Angels last night.

One day after the marathon game on Saturday that ended in somewhat of a controversy, Toronto really needed Reyes to eat some innings to give their bullpen a reprieve.

Mission Accomplished, as Jo-Jo pitched seven workmanlike innings, allowing three runs (one earned) while striking out six and walking only one batter.

Another point to consider is the option factor. Reyes is out of options, so any move outside of a shift to the 'pen would require releasing or trading him. 

Meanwhile, Brett Cecil still has minor-league options available and may be well-served with a short-term rest and demotion.

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