PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays ace Tyler Glasnow wheeled through the home clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park on a knee scooter Monday morning -- “Super, super fast,” he noted, smiling -- with his right foot in a cast and elevated behind him.
Glasnow, working his way back from Tommy John surgery, underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right ankle on Friday. But the 28-year-old right-hander said the procedure won’t set back his recovery timeline. It was something he had been putting off for years, and his lengthy Tommy John rehabilitation process afforded him the time necessary to take care of it.
“If I don't do it now, then when would I ever do it?” Glasnow said. “I'm happy I got it. My foot feels really good.”
Glasnow said he initially hurt his ankle in 2015, when he was in Double-A in the Pirates’ system, then a high ankle sprain he sustained while working out in October “mildly” aggravated it. Glasnow said the issue slightly limited his range of motion, but since it wasn’t causing any pain, the surgery -- and its subsequent downtime -- never seemed worth it.
“It was nothing that was hindering me. I was able to throw and work out and lift and everything,” he said. “If there's a time to do it to remove stuff, we might as well do it now. And then they found some bone chips and stuff. … I'm happy. No inflammation, no pain or anything the day after, so I feel good.”
The Rays announced that Glasnow will resume throwing two to three weeks after the surgery, which was performed by Dr. Aaron Mates in Tampa. Glasnow said he intends to keep his arm in shape -- and his rehab as close to on-schedule as possible -- by throwing from his knees during that time.
The Rays’ Opening Day starter a year ago, Glasnow put together a dominant start to last season before walking off the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on June 14. He had surgery less than two months later to address the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and flexor strain in his throwing arm.
“It was peace of mind for him. It's something that he's been kind of lingering, dealing with,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Excited and don't foresee much of an issue from where he was at in the rehab. He'll pick up, and Glasnow -- as we all know -- works about as hard as anybody.”
Tuesday is the deadline for clubs to exchange salary figures for this season with arbitration-eligible players, which means there should be a round of agreements to avoid arbitration hearings in the hours leading up to the 1 p.m. ET cutoff. It figures to be an especially busy day for the Rays' front office group led by director of baseball operations Hamilton Marx, as Tampa Bay has 13 arb-eligible players on the roster.
The Rays avoided a hearing with Ji-man Choi prior to the lockout, settling on a one-year, $3.2 million contract for this year. Their remaining arb-eligible players are Matt Wisler, Manuel Margot, Glasnow, Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos, Yandy Díaz, Austin Meadows, Andrew Kittredge, Jalen Beeks, Francisco Mejía, Jeffrey Springs, Brett Phillips and Nick Anderson. If they can’t reach an agreement on Tuesday or come to terms on a multiyear deal, they will head to arbitration hearings.
The size of the Rays’ arbitration class is one challenge. Then there’s the fact that the offseason schedule was compressed due to the lockout -- this deadline is typically in mid-January -- which could lead to often-contentious hearings taking place during the regular season.
“It’s just a lot of time,” general manager Peter Bendix said. “It’s a lot of time to go through and treat each [player’s case] with the care that it deserves, but fortunately we have a lot of people who are capable of doing that.”
Right-hander Luis Patiño is set to start for the Rays as they return to Charlotte Sports Park on Tuesday afternoon to host the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. ET. Tampa Bay is counting on Patiño, with his electric arsenal and another season of experience under his belt, to take a big step forward in his second year with the club.
With Patiño starting Tuesday and left-hander Shane McClanahan set to pitch Wednesday, the Rays are beginning to ramp up their young starters in game action. Both will likely work into the second inning of their spring debuts, Cash said, ideally completing two innings their first time out as they build toward the regular season.
Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, slightly set back at the start of camp by a stiff neck, is also set to make his Spring Training debut on Tuesday. Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Díaz, Choi, Phillips, Taylor Walls, Rene Pinto and outfield prospect Josh Lowe are also expected to start.
The game will air on Bally Sports Sun and MLB.tv, and a Rays radio broadcast will be available on MLB.com.