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Manoah named Blue Jays’ opening-day starter

DUNEDIN, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays have named ace right-hander Alek Manoah as their opening-day starting pitcher for the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

The 25-year-old Manoah was a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award last season after posting a 16-7 record with a 2.24 earned-run average and 180 strikeouts over 31 starts.

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The six-foot-six, 285-pound native of Homestead, Fla., pitched six innings of three-hit ball Friday night as the Blue Jays defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3. He had six strikeouts, two walks, allowed a run and was in full control against the Phillies.

Manoah has a pre-season 2-2 record, 3.10 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings over five starts.

The Jays outhit the Phillies 10-8 and committed three errors.

Toronto opens the season next Thursday in St. Louis.

Manoah will be tasked with anchoring a promising Jays rotation that includes Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios and newcomer Chris Bassitt. Yusei Kikuchi has made a compelling case for the fifth spot in the rotation with an excellent spring.

Berrios was Toronto’s opening day starter in 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.

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