DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah was happy with his first minor league rehab start despite an ugly line because his right shoulder felt healthy.

Manoah walked his first four batters and wound up allowing seven runs over 1 2/3 innings for Single A Dunedin against Lakeland in a Florida State League game on Sunday.

The 26-year old felt right shoulder discomfort following a spring training start on Feb. 27 and threw simulated games on March 27 and April 2.

“I don’t care about the numbers,” Manoah said. “I felt really good. Everything was coming out really good. I feel like we were around the zone for the most part. But I think the biggest thing is the body felt good, velo was good, (pitches had) movement. So, just got to continue to feel good and continue to attack.”

Manoah gave up five hits, four walks and struck out four. He threw 32 balls among his 56 pitches.

After going 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA and making the AL All-Star team in 2023, Manoah went 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA last season and was sent to the rookie-level Florida Complex League on June 6 to work on mechanics. After a pair of minor league outings, including one in which Manoah allowed 11 runs over 2 2/3 innings in an FCL game, the right-hander rejoined the Blue Jays on July 7 but was shutdown for the season following a start on Aug. 10.

“I think everybody kind of goes through ups and downs in this game,” Manoah said. “Nobody is really going to go out there and be perfect. Even the best player in the world goes through ups and downs. So, I think the biggest thing is just continue to keep that strong mindset, continue to keep that competitiveness and continue to just control what I can control.”

Manoah didn’t know when his next start would be.

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano, out with right elbow inflammation, threw 21 pitches in a simulated game and expects to pitch in a minor league game this week.

“It went well,” Romano said. “Feeling good.”

Romano had 36 saves in each of the previous two seasons.

Danny Jansen, on the IL with a broken bone in his right wrist, caught Romano.

Reliever Erik Swanson, sidelined by right shoulder inflammation, struck out two during a 1-2-3 inning. The righty threw 10 of 11 pitches for strikes.

Swanson went 4-2 with four saves, and a 2.97 ERA in 69 games last year.

Dunedin shortstop Arjun Nimmala, taken 20th overall in the 2023 draft, hit a homer in the first inning. From nearby Tampa, Nimmala was the first, first generation Indian-American drafted in the first round in any of the four major U.S. sports.

The team was able to retrieve the home run ball from the Lakeland bullpen.


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