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Rays say Blake Snell surgery went ‘as expected,’ September return still planned

2018 AL Cy Young award had “loose bodies” removed from his elbow in an arthroscopic procedure by Dr. Koco Eaton.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) pitches at the top of the first inning against Texas Rangers on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
Published Jul. 29

BOSTON — Arthroscopic surgery on Blake Snell’s left elbow went “as expected,” the Rays said Monday, and a September return to action is still planned.

Snell had the procedure by Dr. Koco Eaton on Monday morning in St. Pete to remove “loose bodies," which are typically small pieces of cartilage or bone chips, from his pitching elbow.

The Rays said last week when the surgery was announced, and again Monday, that they anticipate him being back on the mound “sometime in September.”

RELATED: Latest blow for Rays - Snell headed for surgery

After several rough stretches in he acknowledges has been a “frustrating" season, Snell was recently starting to perform like the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, having gone 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his past four starts. Overall, he is 6-7, 4.28, and the Rays are 11-9 in his starts.

Snell, 26, said last week he knew something seemed unusual with his elbow over his previous three-four starts but that he felt it “move” to behind his elbow and knew then it was of more concern, and even more so after playing catch that day and waking uo sore the next, leading to the MRI exam which showed the need for surgery.

While going into the procedure optimistic and encouraged by talking with former teammate Nate Eovaldi, who had it in each of the last two seasons, Snell was also candid about not knowing exactly how he would recover. “I don’t really know how my body is going to react to anything like that,” he said.

The Rays are trying to make do with Snell out, continuing to use Charlie Morton and Yonny Chirinos as traditional starters while using Ryan Yarbrough and Jalen Beeks for bulk inning work typically behind openers. Rookie Brendan McKay is expected to come up and join the rotation, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

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