Rays righty Jose De Leon has at long last returned to active duty, the club announced. But he’ll return to Triple-A on optional assignment as he looks to get his injury-addled career back on track.
De Leon, once a top prospect who is now almost 27 years of age, underwent Tommy John surgery last March. His rehab assignment was twice extended, as is permissible for hurlers working back from TJ procedures, extending it to a total of ninety days. With that time up, the club swung a deal earlier today to clear a 40-man spot for De Leon’s activation from the 60-day injured list.
During his lengthy rehab stint, De Leon threw 34 innings over 11 outings. He worked to a 3.97 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9. That’s not a perfect showing, by any stretch, but it seems promising that he was able to generate swings and misses from top-level minor-leaguers.
It’s certainly possible that De Leon will be seen as a MLB option in the near future. Odds are he’d be utilized as less than a full-fledged starter, much like most of the rest of the Tampa Bay staff. In De Leon’s case, he has only once topped one hundred innings in a given professional season (2015).