Rays right-hander Shawn Tolleson underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, as per a team announcement. As per the surgery’s usual 12-15 month recovery timeline, Tolleson will miss the rest of this season and a big portion of the 2018 campaign. It’s possible Tolleson could be on the high side of that timeframe since this is his second TJ procedure — he originally underwent the surgery a decade ago while pitching at Baylor University.
The news punctuates what has been a nightmarish two-season stretch for Tolleson, who looked to be coming into his own as the Rangers’ closer in 2015. After posting a 2.88 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 3.22 K/BB rate over 144 IP for Texas in 2014-15, Tolleson badly struggled last year, posting a 7.68 ERA over 36 1/3 IP and missing time due to back problems.
The Rangers outrighted Tolleson after the season and he elected free agency, going on to sign a one-year, $1MM Major League contract with Tampa Bay. After hitting the DL with back and elbow issues during Spring Training, however, Tolleson’s time with the Rays could expire without him ever officially pitching for the team. The Rays do control Tolleson through the 2018 season, however, as the righty has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining before gaining enough service time to officially qualify for free agency. Tampa could very well explore re-signing Tolleson to a minor league deal next winter as he continues to rehab, in the hopes that he could return to the mound late in the 2018 campaign.