Rays left-hander Blake Snell is set to make his long-awaited return from the injured list, the team announced. Snell will start for the Rays in a road game against the Dodgers on Tuesday, and his activation will give the club a franchise-record 38 active players.
The Rays have been without Snell since July 25, when it became apparent the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner would need arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow. To that point, Snell had only performed like the dominant force he was a year ago on a sporadic basis, but he has nonetheless been a significant asset this season. The 26-year-old fired six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts in his most recent start July 21, helping him to a 4.21 ERA/3.40 FIP with 12.12 K/9 and 3.12 BB/9 across 101 frames in the campaign. Snell’s strikeout rate ranks fifth among all major leaguers who have amassed at least 100 innings this year.
Despite the long-term absences of Snell and fellow starters Tyler Glasnow (who returned from the IL on Sept. 8) and Yonny Chirinos (out since Aug. 4), the Rays have continued to hold an AL wild-card spot. They’re a game back of Oakland for the league’s No. 4 seed and one and a half up on Cleveland in the race for its final postseason position. The return of Snell should only increase the Rays’ chances of clinching their first playoff berth since 2013, though he probably isn’t going to give the team a lot of innings in his first game back from the IL.