March 9, 1985 |
Pinellas Park, Florida
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|May 15, 2007 for the Toronto Blue Jays|
(through 2011 season)
|Earned run average||4.16|
Jesse Allen Litsch (born March 9, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He is 6 ft 1 in tall and weighs 225 pounds. Formerly a batboy for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he was drafted in the 24th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004.
On May 15, 2007, Litsch made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays, filling in for the injured Roy Halladay. Over 8.2 innings (the most innings pitched by any Blue Jay in his debut), Litsch allowed only 4 hits, with 2 walks and 1 run while recording 21 of his 26 outs via groundouts. Litsch became the first Blue Jays pitcher to win his debut since Gustavo Chacín beat the New York Yankees on September 20, 2004. As a result of his performance, Litsch made three more starts with the Jays. He was demoted back to Double-A after posting a 0–3 record with a 19.62 ERA in those three starts.
After an injury to A. J. Burnett, the Blue Jays recalled Litsch and he started against Boston on July 15, 2007. He yielded one run on 9 hits over 6.2 innings with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk, defeating Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox 2–1.
He came home to Tampa Bay on July 31, going 6.2 innings, only giving up 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 2, with no earned runs. Litsch finished his first year in the majors 7–9 with a 3.89 ERA and 50 K/36 BB over 20 starts.
On May 24, 2008, the same day that he pitched his first complete game shutout, he also surpassed Jimmy Key's former franchise record by recording 38 consecutive innings without walking a batter (Key's former mark was 34 1⁄3). In 2008 he threw cutters 43.4% of the time, the highest rate in the majors.
On April 14, 2009, he was sent to the 15-day DL because of a right forearm strain. On June 9 it was announced that Litsch would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. He made his first major league start since surgery on June 13, 2010 against the Colorado Rockies. Litsch struggled against the Rockies in his return from injury. He lasted only 2.1 innings and allowed 7 runs on 9 hits.
He regained his previous form in his next start against the San Francisco Giants on June 19 by going 7 solid innings allowing only 3 hits in a 3-0 win.
Litsch was named the number 5 starter for the 2011 season. He made his 2011 debut on April 6 against the Oakland Athletics, getting the win and giving up 6 hits and 3 earned runs while striking out 7. He finished off the season with a 4.44 ERA and a 6-3 win-loss record over 75 innings pitched.
Litsch had a setback on his injured right shoulder early in 2012 training camp. He was shut down early in camp because of inflammation in his shoulder. Litsch visited surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a full diagnosis on Monday that confirmed the inflammation and didn't find any structural damage. That was supposed to be good news, and Litsch received a platelet-rich plasmas (PRP) injection to help with the healing process. The injection caused an unexpected serious infection, and Litsch was not allowed to throw for six weeks. The infection sidelined him for the entire 2012 season.
On October 10, 2012, the Blue Jays announced that Litsch was coming off the 60-day disabled list, but had chosen free agency over an assignment to their Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons. In December 2012, it was reported that Litsch was awaiting bone-graft surgery from a donor cadaver, and his career was in serious jeopardy.
Litsch's main pitch is his four-seam fastball (87-93 mph), and can throw a two-seam fastball with considerable movement. He often uses a cutter (85-89 mph) and a curveball (73-80 mph). He struggles with command of his changeup (79-82 mph).
- Topkin, Marc (May 14, 2007). "Litsch caps rapid rise with callup to Toronto". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- "Litsch pitches into 9th, grabs first win in majors debut". ESPN.com. May 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- "Litsch pitches first shutout as Blue Jays beat Royals 6–0". AP. 2008-05-24. Retrieved 2008-05-24.[dead link]
- "Major League Leaderboards » 2008 » Pitchers » Pitch Type Statistics". FanGraphs. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- "Blue Jays face baseball's hottest pitcher". CBC.ca. 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- "Blue Jays Litsch elects free agency". MLB.com. October 10, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Davidi, Shi (December 20, 2012). "Ex-Jay Litsch awaiting landmark surgery". Sportsnet. Retrieved August 28, 2013.