There are few pitchers in Major League Baseball that have had it harder than Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale.

Toronto Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah might just be the only one.

Sale has been bitten by the injury bug once again, landing back on the injured list with shoulder inflammation after finding his old form and putting together a few weeks of superb performances on the mound. Those injuries are one thing, however, as Manoah has just seemed to lose whatever it was that made him an All-Star in 2022. In fact, he’s lost it so bad that the Blue Jays are shipping him to another country to find it.

Manoah was optioned to the rookie-level Florida Complex League on Tuesday, a demotion that is the first of its kind in modern baseball. Manoah, who was a Cy-Young candidate last season when he finished third in the American League in wins (16) and ERA (2.24), had a nightmare start to his 2023 season, compiling a 1-7 record and a 6.36 ERA in 13 starts.

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The 25-year-old began his season beefing with Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, but could end it trying to keep his career on track.

“As of now, we’re not sitting here making plans for anything, but doing everything we can do for him means using every resource that we have, using the staff and using his teammates to help him through it,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider told reporters after Manoah’s hellacious start on Monday, per “When I say that everything is on the table, yeah, everything is. We’re just trying to help him get back to the caliber of pitcher that he was.”

Toronto clearly believes rebuilding Manoah is the best course of action, as a trip all the way down to Florida is one that likely isn’t going to last for only a few weeks. The Blue Jays took a similar approach with legendary pitcher Roy Halladay ahead of the 2001 season, as he rebuilt his delivery and started his trajectory to the Hall of Fame after coming off the worst year of his career in 2000.

The Blue Jays are hoping this can be a similar spark for Manoah.

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“They reminded me that they all have my back, that we’re all in this together, that they love me and want me to do well,” Manoah said. “It’s very encouraging to hear that.”

Featured image via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images