Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs was removed from today’s game after a visit from manager Kevin Cash as well as the club’s trainer. The club later announced his injury to reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, describing it as left arm ulnar neuritis. He will undergo further evaluation tomorrow.
Until more testing is done, it will be unclear what kind of an absence Springs is facing. The ulnar nerve is commonly known as the “funny bone” due to the tingling sensation it can create in one’s arm when struck. “Neuritis” means that the nerve is inflamed. Having the diagnosis doesn’t necessarily pinpoint a timeline, as there’s still a range of possible outcomes. On the positive end, the Blue Jays placed Jordan Romano on the injured list in April of 2021 with ulnar neuritis, but he was back after just a 10-day absence.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jacob deGrom had surgery to address ulnar neuritis in September of 2016. That ended his season, which isn’t surprising as it was late in the schedule, but the Mets announced the recovery time as three months. It was a similar situation for Michael Fulmer when he was with the Tigers in 2017. He had surgery to address ulnar neuritis late in that season with the club announcing a recovery timeline of three to four months. Clearly, there’s a wide range of outcomes with this issue. The Rays and Springs will have to examine the severity of his ailment and determine the next steps before even a rough timeline can be mapped out.
However it ultimately plays out, it figures to be a blow to the Rays, as Springs has surprisingly emerged as an excellent starter recently. He had spent most of his career working out of the bullpen until the Rays stretched him out last year. He ultimately tossed 135 1/3 innings over 25 starts and eight relief appearances with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 26.2% of batters faced against a 5.6% walk rate and 40.9% ground ball rate. The club had enough belief in those results to sign Springs to a four-year, $31MM extension this winter, though he could bump his earnings as high as $65.75MM over five years via a club option and incentives. He had looked strong so far here in 2023, not allowing an earned run over his first two starts, then letting one run cross the plate today before his exit.
The Rays have a strong starting staff, which has helped them jump out to an incredible 13-0 start to their season, as they eventually won today’s contest despite the loss of Springs. But if the lefty has to miss some time, it will further handcuff a rotation that started the season without Shane Baz or Tyler Glasnow and recently placed Zach Eflin on the injured list as well. If Springs joins that group on the IL, they will be down to two strong starters in Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen, while Josh Fleming has had mixed results so far this year. Eflin is expecting a minimum stay on the IL but still has another 10 days before he’s eligible to return, even if that’s true.
The Rays have often used bullpen games in the past but they would be challenged to get through their upcoming schedule with just three starters in McClanahan, Rasmussen and Fleming. They don’t have an off-day until April 20 and then won’t have another until May 15. That means they will likely have to lean on their depth at some point. Prospect Taj Bradley made his major league debut yesterday but was then optioned to Triple-A this morning. He isn’t eligible to return until 15 days from that optioning, though an exception is made when another player is going on the injured list. Luis Patiño and Yonny Chirinos are other options on the 40-man roster.
Out for the year.
Let’s hope not! Here’s wishing it’s the 10-Day minimum variety…
On that note, do they bring Taj right back to the Majal? Or Patiño time??
Nabillionaires Live for Crismania
Will still be minimum 15 days since the pitcher IL changed last year.
You’re right, my bad. Hopefully only 15 days then.
Nabillionaires Live for Crismania
Yeah I’m totally with you. I’m not Rays fan but love seeing what they’re doing and I think Springs has some real good stuff.
Did you even read the article? The range of outcomes for an injury like this is a minimum 15 day IL stint to 3-4 months (ie: worst case scenario might be that he returns to pitching in September after a 1 month rehab stint). Now, all bets are off if it’s a different injury than they’ve identified, but for now, it’s not seen as season ending.
Well, if Springs does go on the DL/IL then Taj Bradley could be recalled before the 10 day period.
It would be the IL
Just FWIW it’s actually 15 days for pitchers now (still 10 for hitters), but the point is well taken.
For pitchers, the minimum IL stay is 15 days.
Well he was referring to the minors rule where you have to be down for 15 days barring injury.
Amazing start in a Goliath division.
Hmm… seems like 4 to 6 weeks to recover and return to full action again.
Just in time to wrap up the AL East in June, on their way to a 162-0 season.
Wilmer the Thrillmer
Same injury as Thomas Szapucki who is now on the 60 Day IL. Not saying that’ll be true for Springs but just saying.
Springs was off to an epic start, as the entire Tampa team is.
Well that sounds ominous at best. Is that a new answer to the usual problem or did somebody make that up? New one on me.