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Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman to start Sunday vs. Rays


Right-handed starter Kevin Gausman will start Sunday for the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager John Schneider announced Saturday.

Gausman “felt good” throwing a side session Friday at Tropicana Field, but the team was waiting to see how he bounced back before making a call on whether he would start on Sunday or Monday.

The 33-year-old got a late start to spring training while dealing with shoulder soreness, and was questionable to make a start the first time through the rotation.

In 31 starts last season, Gausman struck out an American League-best 237 hitters and finished the year with a 3.16 ERA. He came third in Cy Young voting, finishing behind the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and the Minnesota Twins’ Sonny Gray.

By starting Gausman on Sunday, the Blue Jays will have Bowden Francis make his first career MLB start on Monday when they travel to Houston to start a three-game series with the Astros.

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Francis impressed this spring after a strong 2023, when he posted a 1.73 ERA in 36.1 relief innings.

In other news, reliever Erik Swanson (forearm) threw a side session and “felt really good,” said Schneider, while closer Jordan Romano (elbow) continues to play catch, and catcher Danny Jansen (wrist fracture) hit off a tee again.

Yusei Kikuchi makes his season debut Saturday in Tampa Bay as Toronto looks to bounce back from Friday’s 8-2 loss. You can catch all the action on Sportsnet and Sportsnet+ starting at 4 p.m. ET and 1 p.m. PT.



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