All the good that went into the Rays’ 5-2 win over the White Sox in Monday’s opener of the big-for-June series may be negated by the loss of Tyler Glasnow, who left after four innings due to an elbow issue.
Initial word from the team was inflammation, but Glasnow said that he felt “a little tug” and “tightness” in his elbow, first on a 98.2-mph fastball, then during three subsequent pitches to finish the inning.
“I think I got it relatively early,” Glasnow said. “I just was like, I don’t want to go back out and like chance it. I felt it, like, the last four (pitches). The (velocity) and everything was still there. But it just felt not right.”
Glasnow will have an MRI exam and see a doctor Tuesday in Chicago, with the extremes of further diagnosis being nothing serious that sidelines him briefly to a ligament tear that could require Tommy John surgery and keep him out more than a year.
Manager Kevin Cash said he and the coaches didn’t notice anything amiss, that the shaking and flexing of his right arm during the fourth inning was somewhat standard. Cash applauded him for speaking up that he didn’t feel right.
“Hopefully we got him out at the right time where everything kind of calms down,” Cash said. “We’ve just we got to wait and see now.”
Glasnow couldn’t say if he’d ever felt anything similar in his elbow, noting this was more than just being “uncomfortable” and possibly is similar to 2019, when he missed nearly four months with a forearm strain.
He also suggested — but did not make any accusations — that extreme inconsistencies in the slickness of the baseballs used in the game at Guaranteed Rate Field could have been a contributing factor as he had to grip the ball tighter.
“I think having to grip a ball extremely hard when you throw hard and when your muscle is already extremely tense, and then you have to somehow try to not hit someone in the face, I don’t know,” he said.
“I think whenever I’m trying to hold the ball a lot tighter, it’s probably not going to add to like a comfortable elbow feeling. Again, I don’t know. I just think it’d be nice to make it more consistent.”
Glasnow left with the Rays leading 3-2. Austin Meadows hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Lance Lynn, giving him 15 for the season and 50 RBIs. Brandon Lowe continued his warming trend with a one-out shot in the third. After zipping through the first two innings, Glasnow allowed two in a messy third.
The Rays added on with a solo homer from Randy Arozarena, who also looks to be getting hot, in the eighth, then a Taylor Walls double and a Brett Phillips infield single and a Sox error in the ninth.
As much as the offense against the Sox pitchers was impressive, the job the Rays bullpen did was the reason they prevailed in the first battle between the teams with the majors’ best records. Tampa Bay won for the 24th time in 29 games and improved to 43-24.
Ryan Thompson, J.P. Feyereisen, Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks combined for five shutout innings.
“The way they contribute, the efficiency, just the stuff that they’re featuring, against what we acknowledge is a really good lineup ... to be able to hold it right there that’s — other than unfortunately Glasnow — that’s the story of the game,” Cash said.
How big a story Glasnow’s injury is will be clearer Tuesday.
“I’ll be praying for him,” Meadows said. “Any injury, no matter what the timing is, is always tough. Obviously with him being our ace, I know he’s gone through something like this before. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. I know our staff will do everything they can to get him back out there as soon as possible because obviously we need him.”
• • •
Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.