Rays ace right-hander Tyler Glasnow, emotional and frustrated after being faced with potentially missing the remainder of the regular season, said Tuesday he’s “100 percent” certain that his torn UCL injury was caused by recent major-league directives that prohibit pitchers from using sticky substances to help grip the baseballs.
“I just threw 80-something innings (this season) and you just told me I can’t use anything … (and) I have to change everything,” Glasnow said. “I truly believe 100 percent that’s why I got hurt. I’m frustrated that MLB doesn’t understand. You can’t just tell us to use nothing. It’s crazy.
“My lifelong dream is I want to win a Cy Young and be an All-Star and ... now it’s over. Now I have to try to rehab to come back in the playoffs. I’m clearly frustrated. You can’t just tell us to use nothing.”
Glasnow said he normally uses sunscreen and rosin to grip baseballs and insisted it doesn’t affect the ball’s spin rate. On a recent conference call with 36 MLB players union representatives, Glasnow said “no one” had a problem with that combination.
But Glasnow went “cold turkey’' last Tuesday against the Nationals, when he struck out 11 batters. Afterward, he felt pain “in places where I never had (felt pain) before.”
Glasnow, again going cold turkey, took himself out of Monday night’s game against the White Sox after he felt “a little tug” and “tightness” in his right elbow during the fourth inning. Tuesday in Chicago, an MRI revealed a partial UCL tear and a flexor strain. The Rays placed him on the 10-day injured list.
Glasnow (5-2 with a 2.66 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 88 innings) said he will avoid surgery and begin a rehabilitation program. Realistically, he hopes to return for a Rays’ potential postseason run and maybe some point in September.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said his team’s immediate response to Glasnow’s loss will be to stretch out veteran right-hander Michael Wacha into a starting role. To replace Glasnow on the 26-player roster, infielder Mike Brosseau was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
Cash said Glasnow’s loss was a “mental body-blow, a gut punch, whatever you want to call it.”
“I don’t have any expectations as far as a timeline (for Glasnow’s return),” said Cash, who added Glasnow will see more doctors before specific rehab strategies are known. “Initial thoughts, it’s better than having surgery. I don’t think anything is specifically defined yet before we decide on the exact course of action.”
Cash said he understood Glasnow’s frustration over what might have caused the injury.
“Obviously, I never pitched … saying that, I think what Tyler said, he said it about as good as he possibly could. You stand by him. The guy has a lot on his plate right now. No doubt, he had to make some adjustments that (are) really challenging to do midseason. When you’re talking about the velocities that him and other pitchers can create, I think there is reason to think, and it’s fair for him to think, that there could be some relation to that.”
Glasnow said he felt he could have gone deeper into Monday night’s game, but removed himself as a precaution after first feeling discomfort on a 98.2-mph fastball. Afterward, Glasnow speculated that his need to grip the ball tighter, due to inconsistencies in the slickness of the baseballs, could have been a contributing factor to his injury.
The first-place Rays, who went into Tuesday night’s game with baseball’s best record (43-24), have four other pitchers (all left-handers) who anchor the starting rotation — Josh Fleming, Rich Hill, Shane McClanahan. Ryan Yarbrough. Wacha, 29, has recently been used either as an opener or in middle relief. Wacha went at least five innings in four starts during April.
In 2019, Glasnow missed four months (120 days on the injured list) with a right forearm strain. After returning to pitch in September and the American League Division Series, Glasnow underwent offseason wrist surgery.
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