Thursday, August 11, 2022

Rays place Shane Baz on injured list with sprained right elbow as Tampa Bay loses another key contributor

The Tampa Bay Rays announced on Thursday they had placed right-hander Shane Baz on the injured list with a sprained right elbow. Baz will receive an injection and will then be shut down for a month before being reevaluated. 

Baz, 23 years old, had missed the start of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies from the same elbow. He returned in June and has since started six times, compiling a 5.00 ERA and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings.

“Basically, [it was a] big relief,” Baz told MLB.com back in March. “[Dr. Keith] Meister was saying that everything else in my elbow looks pristine, and he was like, ‘There’s no wear and tear. I really didn’t have to clean you up,’ kind of thing. So I’m definitely really happy with all that.”

If Baz does return in mid-August, he would likely require about a month’s worth of time to rebuild his arm strength. In other words, he’s unlikely to return to the Rays rotation before mid-September, at the earliest. (The Rays could, in theory, attempt to reduce that timetable by simply shifting him into a relief role.)

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Baz joins a number of notable Rays on the injured list, including five starting position players (catcher Mike Zunino; middle infielders Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe; and outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot) and fellow starting pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Jeffrey Springs, and Luis Patiño, among others. The Rays have suffered the third-most days lost to injury of any team this season, according to Spotrac.

Nevertheless, the Rays have remained competitive. They entered Thursday with a 48-40 record on the season, putting them in second place in the American League East. The Rays do trail the New York Yankees by 14 games, however, suggesting that their clearest path to the postseason will come in the form of a wild card berth.

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