ST. PETERSBURG — As Shane McClanahan crisscrossed the country getting expert opinions on what was wrong with his elbow, several surgical options were presented.
Rather than a procedure to remove loose bodies, which may have allowed him to return this season, or a less invasive flexor repair and installation of an internal brace, McClanahan opted for a second Tommy John surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament, plus the brace, that will keep him out until 2025.
McClanahan said that was the advice of Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who he saw in Los Angeles, as well as Texas-based Dr. Keith Meister, who did the surgery Aug. 21.
“Meister said we’re going to go in there, we’re going to get hands on and kind of see what’s going on in there and ultimately, they made that decision that this was best,” McClanahan said Wednesday, in his first comments since the decision.
“Obviously, it was some sort of input from me. Obviously they can’t just go in and do it. But as a group, as a collective whole, we decided that this is what needed to be done.”
McClanahan said Meister “cleaned some other stuff up — bone chips, obviously, and whatever he decided to do in there” — and the procedure overall went well and he was “feeling about as good” as he could.
“Ultimately, in my opinion, the best thing I could have done for this team and for my future is just get healthy,” he said. “To undergo surgery and come back and be the best pitcher I can possibly be for this team, for this organization, for this community. I’m really excited to get back. I am. I miss it a lot.”
McClanahan, 26, said being told he would miss all of next season (as he will be on a conservative rehab schedule since it’s his second Tommy John surgery) was difficult.
“It’s frustrating for myself to kind of accept that or hear that,” he said, but “there’s nothing more I love than playing for these guys and wearing the TB across my hat.”
McClanahan, a two-time All-Star, was 11-2, 3.29 when injured Aug. 2. Assuming he returns in 2025, he will have three years, during which he will be arbitration eligible, until free agency.
Though the injury was downplayed at the time, McClanahan said it was “in the back of my mind” that it could require Tommy John surgery.
“Obviously, I wish it never had to happen,” he said. “But it is what it is. I was really frustrated when I found out, but I can’t control that. I can’t control if I’m going to get injured. I want to control how hard I work, the quality of teammate I am and the consistency on the field. And ultimately, the next year, year and a half, whatever it may be, I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that when I’m healthy, it’s going to be the same me.”
Taylor Walls set to return Thursday
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Shortstop Taylor Walls said he is over the groin issue that kept him out of the lineup Monday through Wednesday, and is set to return Thursday versus Seattle, though with a plan to limit his playing time to roughly two starts every three days to prevent any other issues.
Walls said he thinks the tightness was the result of trying to ramp up quickly after being activated from the injured list Friday following a rain-abbreviated, two-game rehab assignment at Triple A.
“It’s probably just not really (being) conditioned as much as I probably needed to be,” he said. “The game Saturday felt completely fine. The game Sunday, legs felt heavy, could tell I was a little fatigued just from starting the day off. And then just as the game progressed, it got tighter and tighter and tighter. And by the end of the game, I felt like I could barely walk. ...
“So it’s just one of those things where I really wouldn’t put the fault on myself nor the staff for doing that. I was in a position where I felt great and felt like I could come back. But we also had some things that were out of our control with some games getting (canceled) in Durham for weather, just not being able to really maybe ramp up and condition quite like we expected to perfectly do. And I think that just kind of caught up with me just a little bit.”
Radio broadcaster Andy Freed’s hoped for return from a back disc injury has been delayed until at least Sept. 19. ... Brandon Lowe, who hit the 11th-inning walkoff homer Tuesday, extended his career-best streak of reaching base to 16 straight games Wednesday. ... The Rays recorded their 11th consecutive home series win over the Red Sox, a streak that goes back to July 2019. ... Rays pitchers struck out a season high-tying 17 batters. .... Though Chris Archer and James Shields shared the team record with 15 strikeout games, Tyler Glasnow is the only Ray to strikeout 14 or more in two games.
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