Reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell is headed onto the 10-day injured list with a fractured toe, the club announced. (Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times; links to Twitter.) Righty Emilio Pagan will take the open roster spot.
Fortunately, that news is far less concerning than it seems at first glance, as Snell is only expected to miss a single start. There’s little doubt the Rays will hold him out longer if necessary to be sure, but it seems only to be a blip.
Snell has been excellent thus far in 2019, turning in 25 innings of 2.16 ERA ball after inking an extension in camp. He’s average a head-turning 13.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 in the new season, making him an early favorite to repeat as the AL’s consensus best starter.
Pagan, 27, will make his debut with the Tampa Bay organization after seeing time in the majors in the last two years with the Mariners and A’s. He owns a 3.85 ERA in 112 1/3 MLB frames to this point. Despite a promising blend of 9.5 K/9 against 2.2 B/9, Pagan has been hurt by the long ball (1.6 HR/9). He has thrown six scoreless innings in four appearances to open the year at Triple-A, so it seems he could be utilized in a multi-inning capacity.