Rays lose starting pitcher Snell until September

by Gary Shelton on July 26, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell will see fans in September./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 2 a.m.

He is no longer the best pitcher on the staff. Charlie Morton is.

He isn’t the next big thing. That belongs to Brendan McKay.

He isn’t the surprise performer. That’s probably the designation that would go to Yonny Chirinos.

But Blake Snell remains the most vital starter for the Tampa Bay Rays. It has been his performance that was closely aligned with the team’s odds in the playoff race.

And now he is gone.

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The Rays announced that Snell, the 2018 Cy Young Award winner, would be out
until September. He is scheduled to undergo elbow surgery “to remove a loose body” on Monday.

“I was upset,” Snell said of his reaction to learning he would need surgery. “I 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.”

Snell was only 6-7 with an era of 4.28.

“I felt it three or four starts ago. … It didn’t really bother me,” Snell said. “Then I played catch two days ago and felt it move like, by my elbow, and then I threw off the mound yesterday and knew, ‘yeah, this was different.’”

Before Snell’s news, you could debate whether the Rays needed a closer or a hitter more than the other. Now, a starter enters the picture.

“With the team that we have, I know that they’re going to bounce back and they’ll be fine,” Snell said. “I’m not worried about that. They’ll do their part and they’re all really, really talented. I know that they’re going to ball out like they usually do. The team will be fine.

“I talked to Nate Eovaldi multiple times already about it,” Snell said. “I’m looking forward [to returning in September] and I’m looking forward to that and that’s my goal, but at the same time, that’s just from what I’ve heard and I don’t know how my body is going to react or anything like that. I feel like in September, I’ll be ready to go.”

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