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Rays’ Tyler Glasnow to have Tommy John surgery, likely out until 2023

The team’s top starter made the decision after a meeting with Dr. Keith Meister and will have the operation Wednesday.
Tyler Glasnow is expected to miss the rest of this season and all of next season.
Tyler Glasnow is expected to miss the rest of this season and all of next season. [ MENGSHIN LIN | Times ]
Published Aug. 4, 2021|Updated Aug. 4, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG — Top Rays starter Tyler Glasnow will have Tommy John on Wednesday and likely be out until 2023.

Glasnow, who has been sidelined since June with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, said Saturday that he expected surgery was the likely outcome, but a final decision would come out of a Tuesday meeting with Dr. Keith Meister in Texas. Meister will handle the surgery.

Glasnow, 27, has been one of the best pitchers in the game over the past three seasons when healthy, going 16-4, 2.80 with 290 strikeouts in 206 innings.

But he said the elbow has been an issue since 2019, when he missed about four months.

Glasnow, acquired from Pittsburgh in July 2018, is under the Rays’ control through the 2023 season, then will be a free agent. But there is a chance he may have pitched his last game for them.

Will Tyler Glasnow ever be back on the mound for the Rays? There's always a chance that he might not.
Will Tyler Glasnow ever be back on the mound for the Rays? There's always a chance that he might not. [ FRANK FRANKLIN II | Associated Press ]

The Rays will have to decide whether to tender a 2022 contract to Glasnow or to try to work a trade, as he is likely to get a raise from his current $4 million to at least $5 million through arbitration even though he likely won’t pitch, and will get as much again in 2023. So in essence, around $10 million for one season in which his innings likely will be limited.

The usual recovery time for the surgery is 12-14 months. Glasnow said on a Saturday media call it was possible he might return at the end of 2022, though not likely.

“I’m not in any position to try to rush it,” he said. “I just want to make sure I feel good. I’m just really excited to be able to pitch pain-free. It’s frustrating, but the long-term investment of doing this, I just think it’s going to be really beneficial to me to come back strong, healthy and pain-free in 2023.”

Manager Kevin Cash said the “clarity and peace of mind” in having the procedure is good for Glasnow. “And knowing him,” Cash said, “he’ll bust it through the rehab.”

Medical matters: Archer, McHugh, Thompson

Pitcher Chris Archer is headed back to St. Petersburg for further medical evaluation of the left hip soreness that forced him to cut short his rehab outing for Triple-A Durham on Sunday. Had Archer worked his scheduled five innings/75 pitches, he would have had one more rehab game and then been set to rejoin the Rays. He has been out since April with a forearm issue. Now his status is uncertain.

Reliever Collin McHugh (arm fatigue) will throw a live batting practice session Wednesday and if all goes well, he likely will be activated over the weekend in Baltimore.

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Reliever Ryan Thompson’s return from shoulder inflammation was pushed back until at least Aug. 27 after he was shifted from the 10-day to 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster for lefty Dietrich Enns. But Cash said that the delay was only four to five days past the best-case return anyway.

Relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Pete Fairbanks, both out with shoulder issues, are now playing catch.

Wendle wins second Heart and Hustle award

Infielder Joey Wendle was the Rays’ winner of the Heart and Hustle award for the second time in four years. The honor goes to players who “demonstrate a passion for” and “best embody the values, spirits and traditions of the game,” and is voted on by members of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. “We have a team full of guys with a lot of heart and hustle, and any one of them could have won,” Wendle said. “So it’s certainly an honor for me.”


⋅ The 2022 schedule will be released Wednesday. The Rays will open at Boston.

⋅ Monday’s crowd of 5,855 was the second smallest ever for a Rays game at Tropicana Field without COVID-related restrictions on capacity; the only one smaller was 5,786 on May 28, 2019. Pitcher Josh Fleming said it “was a weird feeling” after the larger weekend crowds. “We definitely feed off the crowd in big games like this past weekend and sometimes when you don’t have that energy you get off to a slow start,” he said. The Rays drew 10,071 Tuesday on a “Salute to Service” night with free tickets for military, teachers and first responders.

⋅ Right-hander Evan Phillips and catcher David Freitas were signed to minor-league contracts to provide depth with big-league experience. Phillips, 26, was released Monday from Baltimore’s Triple-A team; he is 1-3, 7.50 over parts of three big-league seasonss. Freitas, 32, hit .200 over parts of three big-league seasons and played in Korea this year until being waived in June.

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