Following another disastrous start Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays have optioned right-hander Alek Manoah to the Florida Complex League, the team announced Tuesday. Righty Bowden Francis was called up in a corresponding move. It's unclear whether Francis, who recently returned from an injury, will move into Manoah's rotation spot.

"We've got to continue to do what's best for him to help him get better," Blue Jays manager John Schneider told about Manoah following Monday's loss. ".... 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."  

The FCL is rookie ball and the lowest level of the minor leagues, and typically features young players who are very early in their pro careers, oftentimes teenagers. Games are played on the backfields at each MLB's organization's spring training complex and Manoah is essentially being sent down to the team's spring complex to work with coaches.

On Tuesday, Schneider said there is no timeline for how long Manoah will remain in the minors, according to Sportsnet. The plan is to go down to Dunedin, throw a bullpen session in front of the coaches and all the technology the team has at their spring pitching lab to assess things, and then go from there. They're planning to give Manoah as much time as necessary.

Alek Manoah
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There is precedent for such a demotion. In 2001, the Blue Jays demoted a then-24-year-old Roy Halladay to the low minors after he pitched to a 10.64 ERA in 67 2/3 innings in 2000. He fixed his mechanics with the organization's pitching gurus, returned to the big leagues that July, and had a 3.16 ERA the rest of the season. Two years later, Halladay won his first Cy Young and two decades later he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Manoah, 25, threw 196 2/3 innings with a 2.24 ERA last season, and finished third in the AL Cy Young voting. Through 13 starts this year, he owns a 6.36 ERA and opponents have hit .289/.408/.485 against him. Manoah allowed six runs and recorded just one out against the Houston Astros on Monday. Simply put, he has been one of the worst starters in baseball.

There is no service time component to Manoah's demotion. Even if he spent the rest of the season in the minors, it would not delay his free agency at this point. This demotion is entirely about getting him on track so he can help the Blue Jays this year and moving forward. Manoah is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2027 season.

The Blue Jays enter play Tuesday with a 33-28 record. They are 9.5 games out in the AL East but are only three games back of the third and final AL wild-card spot. Manoah's struggles aside, Toronto has played well lately.