Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs out for season with Tommy John surgery

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs was off to an outstanding start to the 2023 season, with a 0.56 ERA, 24 strikeouts, and just four walks in 16 innings pitched. However, his season was cut short when he was diagnosed with a left elbow flexor strain and was placed on the 15-day injured list.[0] Although there was hope that he would recover with rest and rehabilitation, it was later revealed that Springs would require Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the 2023 season and potentially part of the 2024 season as well.[1]

Springs, who signed a four-year, $31.5 million extension over the offseason, emerged as one of baseball's best left-handers with the Rays after years of being on the fringes of the big leagues.[2] He had a breakout season in 2022, with a quality 2.46 ERA over 25 starts, and was off to an even better start in 2023, turning into one of the better pitchers in baseball before his injury.[3]

The Rays' rotation will undoubtedly miss Springs, but they have called up pitching prospect Taj Bradley from the minors to help fill out the rotation.[4] Bradley made his MLB debut against the Red Sox last week, allowing three runs in just five innings of work but striking out eight batters while walking just one.[5] The Rays are also awaiting the return of Tyler Glasnow, who missed all of the 2022 season following Tommy John surgery and is currently on the IL with an oblique strain.[6]

Recovery from Tommy John surgery typically takes 12 to 15 months, meaning Springs could potentially rejoin the Rays' rotation in May or June 2024.[7] However, any setbacks would knock him out for the entire 2024 season as well.[8]

Springs' injury was initially diagnosed as left arm ulnar neuritis, which is inflammation of the ulnar nerve that can cause numbness or weakness in the hand.[9] It was thought to be just irritation at first, but further medical opinions revealed the left elbow flexor strain that required surgery.

The loss of Springs is a significant blow to the Rays, who won their first 13 games and entered Tuesday atop the AL East with a 14-3 record.[10] The team believed in Springs' breakout enough to give him a four-year extension with a $31 million guarantee and plenty of incentives, making his injury all the more disappointing. The Rays will have to rely on their deep pitching staff to continue their winning ways without Springs on the mound.[11]

0. “Rays' Jeffrey Springs likely headed for Tommy John surgery” Tampa Bay Times, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.tampabay.com/sports/rays/2023/04/18/jeffrey-springs-rays-rotation-left-elbow-flexor-strain

1. “MLB Rumors: Rays' Jeffrey Springs to Undergo Tommy John Surgery; Out Until 2024” Bleacher Report, 8 Apr. 2023, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10072887-mlb-rumors-rays-jeffrey-springs-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery-out-until-2024

2. “Report: Springs set for Tommy John surgery” TSN, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.tsn.ca/mlb/tampa-bay-rays-lhp-jeffrey-springs-set-for-tommy-john-surgery-1.1947772

3. “Jeffrey Springs' injury leaves Rays fans crossing their fingers despite record-tying win” Yardbarker, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/jeffrey_springs_injury_leaves_rays_fans_crossing_their_fingers_despite_record_tying_win/s1_13132_38694901

4. “Jeffrey Springs injury update: Rays starter expected to undergo Tommy John surgery, per report” CBS Sports, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/jeffrey-springs-injury-update-rays-starter-expected-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery-per-report/

5. “Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeffrey Springs likely needs TJS, lost for year” Rays Colored Glasses, 18 Apr. 2023, https://rayscoloredglasses.com/posts/tampa-bay-rays-starter-jeffrey-springs-likely-needs-tjs-lost-for-year-01gybanvk4z7

6. “Tampa Bay Rays fans distressed as pitcher Jeffrey Springs faces two-month minimum absence due to elbow injury: “Devastating news” “Major bummer”” Sportskeeda, 14 Apr. 2023, https://www.sportskeeda.com/baseball/news-tampa-bay-rays-fans-distressed-pitcher-jeffrey-springs-faces-two-month-minimum-absence-due-elbow-injury-devastating-news-major-bummer

7. “Report: Rays LHP Springs likely to have season-ending Tommy John surgery” Sportsnet.ca, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.sportsnet.ca/mlb/article/report-rays-lhp-springs-likely-to-have-season-ending-tommy-john-surgery

8. “Jeffrey Springs Expected To Have Tommy John Surgery” MLB Trade Rumors, 18 Apr. 2023, https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/04/jeffrey-springs-expected-to-have-tommy-john-surgery.html

9. “MLB world reacts to terrible Rays news” msnNOW, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/mlb-world-reacts-to-terrible-rays-news/ar-AA19PMsn

10. “Ex-Red Sox Pitcher Expected To Undergo Tommy John Surgery In Huge Blow To Rival” NESN, 18 Apr. 2023, https://nesn.com/2023/04/ex-red-sox-pitcher-expected-to-undergo-tommy-john-surgery-huge-blow-rays/

11. “Rays' Jeffrey Springs expected to get Tommy John surgery” ClutchPoints, 18 Apr. 2023, https://clutchpoints.com/rays-news-jeffrey-springs-tommy-john-surgery

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