ATLANTA — LHP Drew Smyly has decided to try to pitch again this season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Smyly, 25, had been considering surgery that would sideline him for the rest of this season and possibly into 2016, but after consultation with Dr. Keith Meister in Texas he decided to try a program that includes a cortisone injection (which he already received), rest and rehab, the Tampa Bay Times has learned. Best-case scenario would be for him to rejoin the rotation sometime in August.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday "we're optimistic" and "hearing good things" on Smyly, but there would be no further details until Thursday when team officials could meet with Smyly at the Trop.
Smyly was sidelined from spring training to late April due to shoulder tendinitis, felt fine in making two starts then had some tightness and discomfort in his third, on May 5 at Boston. He was placed on the disabled list, and after examinations by Rays orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton and Meister (the Rangers' team doctor), the team confirmed the diagnosis of a torn labrum.
SNELL STREAKING: Double-A LHP Blake Snell's season-starting scoreless streak of 46 innings is three shy of the modern-day minor-league single-season record, per Baseball America. Then-Cardinals RHP Brad Thompson opened the 2004 season at Double-A Tennessee with 49.
Thompson also has the overall modern-day record with 572/3 scoreless innings going back to the end of the 2003 season; Snell's overall streak is at 49. Per BA, the all-time minor-league record is 72 innings, set by Irv "Kaiser" Wilhelm in 1907 and 1911, with major-league time in between.
MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) came through his simulated game "very good," Cash said, with a decision to be made after a bullpen session today whether he throws another or moves on to an extended spring training game, with a rehab assignment next. … INF Ryan Brett (shoulder subluxation) has started playing in extended spring games. … LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (shoulder inflammation) is set for an extended spring game this week. … DH John Jaso (bruised left wrist) has started "dry" swings (no ball).
PITCHING IN: The Rays formalized the reshuffling of their rotation, with rookie RHP Nathan Karns getting an extra five days, so nine total, between starts. RHP Alex Colome will open the four-game series with Oakland on Thursday, followed by RHP Chris Archer, Karns (who last pitched May 13) and RHP Erasmo Ramirez.
NO JAKING: RHP Jake Odorizzi is eager to take the mound tonight totally healthy after his last several starts were impacted by the flu bug going around the team. But he's even more so to get the chance to hit — within reason — after executing a safety squeeze bunt last season. "I'm really looking forward to it, but I can't be focused on that — my job is to pitch," Odorizzi said. "The money is made on the mound, not in the box for me."
J-GO SIGHTING: There were plenty of pregame hugs for former Rays OF Jonny Gomes, now with the Braves, the seventh team of his 13-year career. "Have bat, will travel," Gomes said.
NICK OF TIME: Cash had what he called "a great conversation" with INF Nick Franklin, explaining that he will be used as a backup to 2B Logan Forsythe and SS Asdrubal Cabrera, getting probably two starts a week based on matchups.
MISCELLANY: INF Tim Beckham, a Griffin, Ga., native playing for the first time in Atlanta with 30 relatives and friends in the stands, grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. … The Rays dropped to 2-13 with an unsuccessful replay challenge of an out call at second on Evan Longoria in the third.
ATLANTA — Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has created plenty of lasting memories on the field and at the plate, topped by his Game 162 wild-card clinching home run.
Now he has helped create a sneaker being launched this month, the Evan Longoria x New Balance 530, which features several design elements he suggested. Photos were released Tuesday.
"I think it turned out great," Longoria said. "It was really fun to do. It was a year-and-a-half communicating with them. It was cool to be a part of, and something that I was honored that they even let me do."
Some of Longoria's suggestions were to make the shoe black (his most common clothing color choice), to include denim material in addition to the suede (since he prefers wearing jeans) and to make it comfortable given his past foot problems.
New Balance said it added speckle to the sole to resemble infield dirt, used a sheepskin lining "for a baseball-glove like feel" and highlighted the 3 in the 530 lace-keeper because it's his number.
About 1,000 pairs are being made and sold online for a suggested retail price of $159.95, available first on May 30 via privatesneakers.com.