ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — If the Tampa Bay Rays are going to hang in the AL playoff race, they’ll have to do it without reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
The 26-year-old left-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday and is expected to be sidelined until at least September due to arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow.
The Rays, who trailed Oakland by one game for the second AL wild card spot entering play Thursday, said team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Koco Eaton will operate on Snell next Monday. The team anticipates the pitcher will be ready to return in September.
Snell said he’s confident the Rays can remain in playoff contention while he’s out. Tampa Bay has slipped following a 14-4 start.
“With the team we have, I know they’re going to ball out. I’m not worried about them,” said Snell, who became the second Cy Young winner in franchise history last season, when he led the major leagues with 21 wins.
The lefty is 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 20 starts this season, including 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in outings since June 30.
Snell, who signed a $50 million, five-year contract during spring training, said he initially felt discomfort in his arm “three of four starts ago” and became more concerned while playing catch on Tuesday. He had a MRI following a bullpen session Wednesday.
“I was upset,” Snell said of his reaction to learning he would need surgery. “Felt like this whole year has kind of been that way. … Every time I found my groove and felt like I was about to get going, something had to get in the way. Just very frustrating.”
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