Eric Pardinho initially feared the worst when he experienced tightness in his right elbow during spring training, worrying that his injury was severe enough to require surgery.
It turns out Pardinho’s worst fears weren’t realized, as his ligament was strained but not irreparably damaged, sparing him a trip to the operating table and giving the 18-year-old Brazilian a chance to salvage his second season of affiliated ball in the Blue Jays’ system.
After months of rest and rehab, Pardinho returned to the mound on June 26 with four innings of one-hit ball in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before resuming his ascent toward the big leagues with low Class A Lansing. Through his first five starts in the Midwest League, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound righty recorded a 1.88 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 24 innings.
“My main goal was to pitch this entire year,” Pardinho said in comments interpreted by teammate Joey Pulido. “Now that it hasn’t happened, I just want to focus on staying healthy this year and hopefully having a good spring training next year so I can pitch a full season. That’s my main goal—to pitch a full season.”
Development priorities for the polished teenager include becoming more consistent with his curveball and increasing the use of his changeup. Assuming he finishes out the season without further injury issues, the Blue Jays will decide between “adding some innings, or is it a focus on physical development” over the winter, according to farm director Gil Kim.
“The main goal is exposure to that higher level of competition in full-season ball, and he’s facing hitters there that he hasn’t faced as consistently in the past,” says Kim. “So it’s really about acquiring game repetitions at this point and finding ways to build up some innings, too.”
Pardinho is sinking his teeth into that opportunity and especially enjoys using TrackMan data to find ways to become consistent on the mound. The data on his spin rate and spin efficiency is helpful, but what has been most beneficial is the information on his arm extension.
“TrackMan will let me know where my most accurate pitches are and what the extension is for those pitches,” Pardinho said. “I’ve used that information in games to help me get to where I need to be to be accurate.”
— Double-A righthander Patrick Murphy eliminated a toe touch from his delivery when umpires deemed it illegal. But while he was working on a new throwing motion, the 24-year-old righthander suffered shoulder fatigue and is currently rehabbing.
— Righthander Alek Manoah, the Blue Jays’ 2019 first-round pick, joined short-season Vancouver on July 27 after working out at the team’s spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla.