Rays righty Burch Smith is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports on Twitter. Soon to turn 25, Smith was set to start the year in the minors but had figured to be a component of Tampa’s pitching mix.
The Rays acquired Smith as part of the deal that shipped Wil Myers to the Padres. His health issues were known at the time, as Smith had been shut down for a significant period after dealing with a forearm strain.
Smith had a rough 36 1/3 inning introduction to the big leagues back in 2013, logging a 6.44 ERA. He did show that he could get swings and misses from MLB hitters (11.4 K/9), though he also struggled with command (5.2 BB/9) in a way he never had in the minors. In 92 1/3 innings at Triple-A in 2013, Smith posted a 2.63 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.
The loss of Smith is more unwelcome injury news for a club that is already dealing with more than its fair share of DL stints. While most of the wounded Tampa arms are expected to return in relatively short order, the club has been working to bolster its depth.