Matt Shoemaker tears ACL, ending Blue Jays hurler's season
Right-hander was 3-0 with 1.57 ERA in 5 starts after signing with Toronto
Matt Shoemaker had to choke back tears after tests revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sunday, cutting short yet another promising season for Toronto's oft-injured right-hander.
Standing in the clubhouse following a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, Shoemaker's voice quavered and he paused a few times while discussing the injury. At one point he was asked if he needed time to compose himself but declined.
"You can't put words to it," Shoemaker said. "Extremely frustrated but at the same time I just have to stay positive. I know I'm really upset right now, I just got the news. But stay positive, keep fighting, get this thing right and be back when it's ready to go."
The 32-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.57 earned-run average in five starts after signing a one-year, $3.5-million US deal with Toronto in December.
- He was limited to seven starts last year with the Los Angeles Angels because of a strained right forearm.
- In 2016, he sustained a skull fracture when he was hit in the head by a line drive, and he's had lingering forearm trouble for a while.
Replay on what happened:<br><br>Appears to be grabbing his knee. <a href="https://t.co/E6SkfHK5b9">pic.twitter.com/E6SkfHK5b9</a>—@KleinschmidtJD
"He was one of the best pitchers in baseball for the first month," rookie Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "I feel bad for him. I feel bad for all of us, worse for him because he was doing so great."
'I was really hoping for a knee sprain'
Shoemaker's latest injury occurred while he was chasing Oakland's Matt Chapman in the third inning. Shoemaker applied the tag and spun around to avoid contact. The injury happened as he twirled.
"I was really hoping for a knee sprain," Shoemaker said. "I knew what I felt. It didn't feel right, but I was just hoping for a knee sprain."
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak called it a big loss for a team that just completed a 6-1 road trip.
"He's been awesome and he's pitched well so far," Smoak said. "It's a freaky thing. It's tough for him, tough for us."
Before Sunday's game, Shoemaker walked slowly through the clubhouse with the aid of a single crutch. He didn't need it when talking to reporters but had a noticeable limp.
Although it's admittedly difficult, Shoemaker said the key to his recovery will be keeping an optimistic outlook.
"The biggest thing is that it's frustrating," Shoemaker said. "I can deal with this stuff. I know I seem pretty upset right now, which I am. But I've had bumps in the road before and I'm just going to fight through it. That's just who I am. It's just really upsetting right now."
Infielder Richard Urena was recalled from triple-A Buffalo.