The Tampa Bay Rays confirmed speculation by Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), LHP Drew Smyly is behind schedule, with concern that he may start the season on the DL due to tendinitis in his left shoulder.
Rays manager Kevin Cash told Topkin,
He’s basically going through a little bit of shoulder tendinitis right now. Everything we’re doing right now is precautionary. It’s kind of on him and how he feels from this point forward.
Smyly arrived at camp behind schedule after being slowed down about six weeks due to a strained tendon in his left middle finger. However, according to Cash, his finger is now a “non-issue,” but his shoulder issues developed after Smyly threw a few bullpens in camp.
The current plan is to monitor Smyly on a daily basis, further pushing back his spring debut which was already pushed back because, as you may recall, he preferred a different throwing schedule than the Rays use.
From the standpoint of where he’s at now, it’s just more or less we’re going to kind of wait and see,’ Cash told Topkin. He’s a big part of what we’re doing so we want to make sure he’s good to go before he ramps it up. If you look back, it’s pretty normal with a lot of pitchers – throw a couple bullpens and get a little tendinitis.
Smyly, who assumed his bout with tendinitis is the result of trying to “ramp up” his throwing following the delay due to his finger injury, hopes to play catch in next few days.
The elephant in the room, will Smyly be ready to start the season? Cash isn’t so sure. According to the Rays manager,
We just don’t know yet. I think it’s fair to say there’s a concern, but it’s so early we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. The shoulder, he’s improving daily. So, he’s a big part of what we’re doing so we want to be precautionary and cautious with how we get him ramped up here.
One thing is certain, don’t expect the Rays to make a free-agent acquisition to fill the possible void in the rotation. Cash told Topkin the Rays are comfortable with their in-house starting depth, citing the expected arrival of RHP Alex Colome once his visa issue is resolved. Colome has been throwing at the Rays complex in the Dominican Republic.
Three other Rays (Nick Franklin, John Jaso, and Brandon Guyer) sustained injuries in the last few days.
Franklin strained his hip in an at-bat Saturday, against the Pirates. The Rays utility infielder went through a full workout Sunday morning, with no extenuating issues, and is expected to return to action Monday. Jaso, who bruised his shin after getting hit by a pitch in the above mentioned game, is better. However, he isn’t expected to play again until Tuesday when he hopes to get into the outfield. Guyer (oblique/lat strain) is still receiving treatment, yet it is uncertain when he will return.