Marcum has MRI, Blue Jays to shut him down for remainder of '08

TORONTO -- Blue Jays right-hander Shaun Marcum got an MRI exam Thursday, and the team said he won't pitch again this season.

Marcum, 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 25 starts, left Tuesday's game against Baltimore after two-plus innings with a sore arm and numbness in his pinkie. The results of his MRI were being sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.

"We'll have confirmation tomorrow," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said when asked whether Marcum might require surgery. "I don't want to speculate on anything."

Manager Cito Gaston said John Parrish or Scott Richmond will take Marcum's turn in the rotation on Sunday against Boston.

A serious injury to Marcum would be a major blow to Toronto's chances in 2009. The Blue Jays, who lead the major leagues with a 3.55 ERA, lost right-hander Dustin McGowan to shoulder surgery in July and don't expect him back at full strength until May. Right-hander A.J. Burnett, who has won a career-high 18 games, can opt out of the final two years of his contract at the end of the season.

Ricciardi said for the first time Thursday he would "think about adding some years" to Burnett's contract in an effort to keep him with the Blue Jays.

"We'll talk maybe going beyond that but not to the point where we're going to get involved in a bidding war with another team," Ricciardi said. "We'd love to have him stay but if someone wants to blow him out of the water, that won't be us."

Otherwise, Ricciardi said, right-hander Casey Janssen, who missed all of 2008 because of shoulder surgery, and minor leaguers Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil would be candidates to round out next year's rotation behind holdovers Roy Halladay, Jesse Litsch and David Purcey.

"We might have a young staff," Ricciardi said. "We'll see."

Also Thursday, an MRI on catcher Rod Barajas revealed a slight tear in his left hamstring. Barajas, who has been out of the lineup since Saturday, is batting .249 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 104 games.

Gregg Zaun and Curtis Thigpen will split time behind the plate until Barajas returns.