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Blake Snell gets cortisone shot in elbow, Rays not ‘overly concerned’

Lefty had some discomfort on the outside of his pitching elbow the day after his first spring start, slated to resume throwing soon.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, center, takes infield practice during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, center, takes infield practice during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Feb. 29, 2020
Updated Mar. 1, 2020

PORT CHARLOTTE — Blake Snell felt enough wrong in his left elbow to require a cortisone shot on Friday. Manager Kevin Cash said “at this point” the team is “not overly concerned,” hoping Snell resumes throwing in a few days with no problems.

And now the Rays have to wait just to see how potentially troubling of an issue this is.

Snell made his spring debut Wednesday, throwing 21 pitches in a three-batter first inning, saying afterward he felt good.

But that changed Thursday, when he felt some kind of discomfort in his elbow. That’s the same one he had bone chips removed from in July and was sidelined for nearly two months, coming back in mid-September to pitch well though in a limited role.

“He came in (Thursday) after his session and felt pretty good but not as good as he wanted to,’’ Cash said. “Given what took place last year, he wanted to do everything, we wanted to do everything, to get out in front of it.’’

Cash said that Snell is slated to play catch Tuesday “with the hope” of throwing a bullpen session Friday. On that schedule, he could miss only one spring start and be ready to open the season on time, but any longer absence could jeopardize his availability for what seems set up for a Game 2 start on March 28.

Cash said the area of concern was on the outer side of the elbow, which is “better than in the tendon region and all that stuff” on the inside.

Snell declined through the team to discuss the situation with reporters, saying he will do so Sunday.

Game details: Braves 12, Rays 0

Reliever Jose Alvarado looked much better in his second outing, hitting the first batter then striking out the next three, throwing 18 pitches, 11 strikes, for the Rays (4-4-1). Alvarado said he made some adjustments to his delivery after watching video and was “feeling more power” in his body. “A big positive,’’ he said. Cash agreed: “Really, really impressive.’’ … Yoshi Tsutsugo made three plays of varying degrees of difficulty at third and slid over to shortstop territory in a defensive shift as he continues to look comfortable in the field. “I’ve been practicing ground balls with Cash hitting, and he hits really hard,’’ Tsutsugo said, via interpreter Louis Chao. … Yonny Chirinos wasn’t sharp during much of his two-plus inning outing, throwing 38 pitches, 26 strikes, allowing a long homer to the Braves’ Peter O’Brien, and six hits and five runs total. …. Atlanta’s Christian Pache also went (very) deep off Colin Poche. … Austin Meadows, who came in for 0-for-9, got his first hit.

McKay okay

Brendan McKay threw a 20-plus pitch live batting-practice session with no issues from the shoulder stiffness that had set him back, hoping to move next into his first game action. “I feel really good about it, the way the ball is coming out,’’ he said. “The way everything feels, I could throw tomorrow and be ready for a game.’’ McKay was working primarily on his changeup, hoping to use that more going forward.

Miscellany

Tsutsugo is slated to play left and hit second Sunday in facing Twins starter Kenta Maeda, against whom he was 9-for-48 with two homers when both were in Japan. … Tampa native and former Devil Ray Fred McGriff is a spring training instructor for the Braves and coached first base Saturday. … After Sunday’s game, the Rays and Twins wives will play their annual charity softball game, this year benefiting Girls on the Run Greater Tampa Bay. … Rays players on Saturday had their annual media training session. … Saturday was just the second Leap Day game in the Rays’ 23-season history, the other in 2008 against the Reds in Sarasota.