Rays' Jake McGee recovering quickly from surgery

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Pitcher Jake McGee #57 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Pitcher Jake McGee #57 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Published January 14 2015
Updated January 14 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays closer Jake McGee's recovery from elbow surgery is going well enough that he is anticipating an earlier than expected return, possibly in mid April.

After having Dec. 12 arthroscopic surgery to remove a "loose body," McGee said he was expected to miss the first month of the season.

But McGee said this week he has full range of motion in the elbow, and with no setbacks he could be ready for a rehab assignment around the time of the Rays' April 6 season opener, with a return to follow shortly.

"Everything is going well," McGee said.

The Rays plan to wait until McGee starts throwing in spring training next month to further define a timetable. The Rays have returnees Grant Balfour and Brad Boxberger and newcomers Ernesto Frieri and Kevin Jepsen to work high-leverage situations.

ARBITRATION: As expected, the eight eligible Rays were among 175 players filing Tuesday for salary arbitration: pitchers Alex Cobb, Kevin Jepsen, McGee and Drew Smyly, DH/catcher John Jaso, catcher Rene Rivera, outfielder Desmond Jennings and infielder Logan Forsythe.

ROYALS EXTEND YOST: Ned Yost, who led the Royals to within one game of a World Series championship, received a one-year contract extension through the 2016 season.

D'BACKS ADD CUBAN STAR: The Diamondbacks agreed to a contract with Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez that includes an $8.27 million signing bonus. Lopez, 21, is expected to begin his career in the minors.

PROSPECT ARRESTED: Indians minor-league pitcher and recent first-round draft pick Justus Sheffield, 18, a nephew of former outfielder and Tampa native Gary Sheffield, was arrested in Tullahoma, Tenn., on charges of aggravated burglary and violating the drinking-age law.

BRAVES: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, 35, agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

DODGERS: Catcher A.J. Ellis agreed to a $4.25 million, one-year contract.

PADRES: Right-handed reliever Jose Valverde, 36, agreed to a minor-league deal.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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