Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Hellickson has elbow surgery, out until May

What had been a largely positive and encouraging offseason for the Rays took its first painful jolt Monday with word that starter Jeremy Hellickson had elbow surgery and is expected to miss at least the first six to eight weeks of the season.

The procedure to remove "loose bodies" Wednesday was arthroscopic and considered minor, with Hellickson predictably optimistic he will be back on the mound sometime in May.

But the true damage can't be assessed until it's clear when, and in what form, he returns and how the Rays compensate for his absence.

"A strong rotation is critical to our success; we rely heavily on our starters and losing someone like Jeremy is tough," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We're fortunate that the procedure was minor and look forward to him coming back healthy and strong during the summer."

Right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome, coming off his own elbow injury, will get the first shot at joining a still-promising rotation that includes David Price (who seems even less likely to be traded), Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer. Odorizzi was 0-1, 3.94 in seven games for the Rays, 9-6, 3.33 at Triple-A Durham. Colome was 1-1, 2.25 in three Rays games, 4-6, 3.07 at Durham and didn't pitch after June 28.

Minor-leaguers Enny Romero, Mike Montgomery and recently acquired Matt Andriese are other internal candidates.

Hellickson, 26, said what started as occasional and somewhat familiar discomfort in his right elbow when he began playing catch in December became considerably worse when he threw off a mound two weeks ago to the point where he couldn't straighten his arm, leading to the surgery by Dr. Koco Eaton.

"Everything was going good," Hellickson said. "I think right at the beginning of my throwing program I felt just a little discomfort but nothing too bad, so I just kept throwing. It'd feel good for a week and then it would go back to feeling irritated and not comfortable.

"Then I just kind of wanted to wait until I got on the mound to see how it felt. I threw my first bullpen and it felt good, then I got on the mound three days later and I couldn't even really straighten out my arm, it was kind of locked up. I threw about 10-15 pitches that bullpen and came away with it just didn't feel good at all, not comfortable."

Hellickson seemed confident that the discomfort was not the cause of his disappointing 2013 performance (12-10, 5.17), saying what he felt in January "was far worse than anything I felt last year."

Hellickson threw off the mound, at an indoor facility in his native Iowa, for the first time Jan. 15 and said the second, and more painful, session was around Jan. 18-20. On Jan. 17, he settled his first-year arbitration case for $3.625 million, which the team still has to pay in full and is not covered by insurance.

Andriese, acquired last month from San Diego, was one of 11 minor-leaguers invited Monday to big-league spring training, which starts next week. The others are catchers Mayo Acosta, Curt Casali and Luke Maile; infielder Cole Figueroa; outfielder Mikie Mahtook; right-handers Steve Geltz, Merrill Kelly and Victor Mateo; and left-handers pitchers Braulio Lara and Adam Liberatore.

The spring roster is officially at 59, but the Rays have signed at least three who are invited — infielder Wilson Betemit, right-hander Juan Sandoval and outfielder Jeremy Moore — so the working total is 62.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

Rays' Hellickson has elbow surgery, out until May 02/03/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 3, 2014 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …