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Manoah: Blue Jays could've gone further if I was just serviceable

Mark Blinch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah believes his club would've had a better 2023 season if he didn't struggle on the mound.

"I totally think the toughest part was that on our team we had probably the best starting pitchers and if I could have just been serviceable, I feel we could have gone a lot further, you know?" Manoah said, according to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. "At one point, these guys were throwing every four days and just piggybacking off of each other … that was the tough part."

He added: "Watching the team go to the playoffs - celebrating clinching that playoff berth at the end of the year - that was tough. And after Opening Day when (the St. Louis Cardinals) kicked the shit out of me, those were moments that really sucked."

The Blue Jays were swept by the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card round after finishing third in the AL East with 89 wins. Manoah didn't pitch in the playoffs or down the stretch following a second demotion to the minors in August.

The 2022 AL Cy Young finalist posted a 5.87 ERA with 1.74 WHIP and 59 walks in just 87 1/3 innings last season, stats he attributed to mechanical issues that started last spring.

"It was like one week we were constantly trying to figure something out and another week trying to figure something else out and then going backwards," Manoah said. "For the most part, you have good mental cues to fall back on when things are going south, but definitely trying to remake an entire mechanism is tough when you're fighting yourself 90% of the time, and you look up and (Los Angeles Angels star) Mike Trout is in the box."

The 26-year-old is projected to start the season as the fifth starter in Toronto's rotation.

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