Roy-al Pain

After spending the entire season near the top of the very strong American League East despite numerous pitching injuries, the Toronto Blue Jays now find themselves with their worst injury possible.

Halladay has been one of baseballs best for years (keithallisonphotos.com)

Halladay has been one of baseball's best for years (keithallisonphotos.com)

The news came out today that their ace and definite Cy Young contender Roy Halladay will be placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to June 13). Halladay left his last start against the Marlins after only three innings with a right groin strain. He tried to throw in a bullpen session this afternoon but still felt tightness and it was decided to shut him down until the end of the month.

This is the worst possible injury the Jays could get tagged with. After a strong 27-14 start, they have faded quickly going 8-17 since. Halladay has been their constant through it all going 10-1 this season with 103 innings pitched (both AL leads) and is ranked fifth with both 88 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA.

If this news wasn’t bad enough, the Blue Jays also announced today they would be putting their closer, Scott Downs, on the 15-day DL with a sprained big toe. Downs has done a fantastic job since taking over the closer role from the injury-plagued and struggling BJ Ryan earlier this season. Downs is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA and eight saves.

In a division that has been dominated for years by Boston and New York, it has been refreshing to see the emergence of teams like the Rays and Blue Jays as well as seeing the Orioles begin to get stronger. Hopefully the Jays can keep themselves in the race until Halladay comes back and give the other top teams a run for their money.

News & Notes:

· Ivan Rodriguez passed Carlton Fisk on the all-time list for games caught with number 2,227 today in Texas. A huge congratulations to Pudge for this great accomplishment.

· Veteran righty John Smoltz will finally make his highly anticipated debut with the Red Sox on June 25 against the Washington Nationals. What a huge addition to any rotation this is. I bet the Braves are kicking themselves with how good he’s looked in his rehab starts.

· Jose Canseco is suing Major League Baseball and the players’ association for essentially being banished for using steroids. Now he wants to get Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa to join his cause, or as this new alliance will be better know as, “The Cheater’s Club.”

Matthew Whipps is a writer for Baseball Daily Digest and co-writes the new blog The Minnesota Sports Guys. If you would like to contact him via email you can reach him at whipps15[at]gmail.com

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