Rays' Brad Boxberger to miss 8 weeks after core muscle surgery
Rays closer Brad Boxberger is expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season after undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a core muscle in his groin area.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said they won't name a closer to replace Boxberger but plan to fill his role with several internal options, such as Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar, Steve Geltz and Ryan Webb.
"Obviously it's a blow because he's so valuable to our team, to our staff and especially at the back end of a game, but we have a number of guys that could try to fill that void for the first month of the year, and will have some opportunities that will present itself for some more bullpen arms,'' Cash said. "We will not name a closer; we will close how it matches up and how we best see it fit and who is ready to pitch on each given night."
Boxberger led the AL with 41 saves last season and made the All-Star team, and was being counted on even more to lead an inexperienced bullpen following the off-season trade of Jake McGee.
Cash said the working timeframe for Boxberger to return is eight weeks, though they will know "a lot more" after the first four weeks.
He said there was no traumatic injury that led to the surgery, that it was more a matter of Boxberger having a nagging issue that they initially felt was related to a tight hamstring once he started throwing off the mound.
But an exam here led the team to send him to see a specialist in Philadelphia, and surgery was performed there on Thursday to repair a tear in his abductor adductor brevis muscle.
"It was very unique that it wasn't really causing pain, it was just kind of a nag. But had we not got it fixed then it nags for a long time," Cash said. "Talking to Box he was in good spirits; (it was) a very successful procedure he had."