Rays journal: De Leon headed for Tommy John surgery, McGowan cut, Snell sharp

The Rays lost another top pitching prospect to injury.
LHP Blake Snell continued his strong spring with a three-inning outing Wednesday. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
LHP Blake Snell continued his strong spring with a three-inning outing Wednesday. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Published March 8, 2018|Updated March 8, 2018

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays have lost another promising starting pitching prospect for an extended period with RHP Jose De Leon headed for Tommy John surgery after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament.

RHP Brent Honeywell, the Rays' top pitching prospect, had Tommy John surgery Feb. 27 and will be sidelined until the middle of the 2019 season.

De Leon was highly touted when acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for 2B Logan Forsythe in January 2017 but had a rough first season with the Rays. After a somewhat controversial decision to join the Puerto Rico team in the World Baseball Classic, De Leon spent much of the season on the minor-league disabled list (twice for arm issues), pitching in just one big-league game.

But he earned praise this spring for coming into camp in much-improved shape physically and for throwing better, only to sustain the injury, apparently in his last bullpen session. His last game appearance was Saturday.

Though De Leon, 25, dropped considerably on, and off, some prospect lists, he  was still very much in the Rays' plans, though slated to open the season at Triple-A Durham.

De Leon was diagnosed with the tear by Rays orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton and is going to see noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews for another opinion, with surgery expected.

McGowan, Scribner released

RHP Dustin McGowan, a 10-plus year big-league veteran known for his determination and leadership-by-example, was released along with RHP Evan Scribner. After deciding neither would make the big-league roster, the Rays said they wanted to act now so both would have more time to catch on elsewhere.

Not-so-Sweet Caroline

There was some strong social media reaction over the Red Sox anthem, Sweet Caroline, being played at Tuesday's game in Port Charlotte. The stadium is operated by the minor-league Stone Crabs staff. Word is that was a fill-in person working the in the PA booth, that the bad decision was quickly addressed with him, and that the song is no longer on the Charlotte Sports Park playlist.

Game report

LHP Blake Snell looked sharp again, allowing two hits over three scoreless innings and striking out four Orioles, including ex-mate Tim Beckham with two on for his final out. … 3B Christian Arroyo made two dazzling plays in the fourth. … LHP Anthony Banda couldn't make an adjustment to his mechanics and had a rough outing, allowing three walks and two hits in a seven-batter span. … RHP Yonny Chirinos also had issues, allowing three hits and a walk. … Prospect SS Willy Adames hit an opposite-field homer to right.


• 1B Brad Miller won't play until at least Tuesday, his broken right pinky toe impacting how he had been running, a concern given previous hip issues and October core muscle repair surgery. "Could feel something creeping in,'' Miller said.

• The second base competition is down to Micah Johnson, Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle. Adames will get a peek, though manager Kevin Cash said he is "probably on the outside looking in.''

• Rays wives will host Twins wives in a softball game after Friday's exhibition, with donations benefiting the Stoneman Douglas High shooting victims fund in Parkland.