Blue Jays pitcher Kevin Gausman has progressed to throwing off flat ground for the first time yesterday after getting hit in the ankle by a 100 MPH comebacker off the bat of Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco on July 2.
Gausman has been a mixed bag this season. After a career year in 2021 – where he started 33 games for San Francisco, going 14-6 with 227 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA – he signed a five-year, $110 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason.
He had a solid April and May, going 5-3 with 70 strikeouts and a 2.51 ERA, but struggled in June. In five starts, Gausman went 1-3 with a 3.96 ERA. His BABIP on the month was .413, too, which was the highest among pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched.
Gausman took the mound for the first time in July last Saturday. It was the first game of a doubleheader against the Rays, and he had given up four hits and a walk while striking out three in two scoreless innings when he got hit in the right ankle by Franco’s line drive. Gausman attempted to field the ball but stumbled forward, falling face first into the grass.
He grabbed for his ankle before folding his arm over his face in pain. Toronto got Franco out, which ended the inning and allowed medical staff to check on Gausman. Ultimately he was able to walk off the field under his own strength and underwent x-rays that came back negative.
The ball struck Gausman on the outside of his right ankle, meaning it likely made contact with the lateral malleolus, talus, or the calcaneus. The lateral malleolus is the most likely of the three as it is the bone that protrudes from the outside of the ankle (think the round, knobby bone that sticks out just above your heel) at the base of the fibula. It’s the most commonly fractured bone when an ankle fracture is diagnosed.
Two days after the injury, Gausman was still having trouble pushing off his right foot and was forced to miss his scheduled bullpen session the following Tuesday. He was scratched from his Thursday start, but the recent development of him throwing a bullpen session Friday is a good sign that he may get to work on Sunday against the Mariners.