PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Blake Snell made his first Spring Training start on Wednesday and said he felt ahead of where he was last spring, but as he arrived to Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday, the Rays lefty admitted to having some discomfort in his left elbow.
Snell pitched a scoreless inning against Minnesota, featuring all four of his pitches, and everything appeared to be fine. Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters on Saturday, however, that Snell received a cortisone shot on the outer half of his left elbow and won’t make his scheduled start next week. Cash also added the club “isn’t overly concerned” at the moment.
“He came in after his session, felt pretty good -- but not as good as he wanted to,” Cash said. “I think, given what took place last year, we wanted to do everything to get out in front of it.”
The Rays will be cautious with Snell, who missed nearly two months last season after undergoing left elbow surgery to remove loose bodies. Cash stressed getting the shot on the outer half of the elbow was better than getting it on the inner part -- which is where the tendon area is.
“It’s better than [if it was] in the tendon region and all that stuff,” Cash said.
After his Spring Training start on Wednesday, Snell said his arm was a bit more sore than usual. He added he has been dealing with soreness for nearly two weeks, but it hasn’t been something that required him to miss any time.
Snell also said the decision to receive the injection was more precautionary because of the loose bodies surgery last season. The injection should help alleviate some of the inflammation heading into the season, which Snell said will allow him to continue to work on everything he wants to during the spring.
“I’m not concerned at all about it,” Snell said. “Concerned enough to get a shot, yeah, just because the inflammation was annoying. But from a throwing standpoint, I do feel great.”
The cortisone shot certainly delays Snell’s ability to build up his workload before Opening Day, but the left-hander doesn’t think he’ll be sidelined for long. Snell is scheduled to play catch on Tuesday and, if that goes well, he will throw a bullpen session on Friday. After that, the schedule will depend on how Snell feels and what pitching coach Kyle Snyder believes is best.
Snell also underwent a CT scan, which came back clean.
“My arm still feels really good, it was just that spot,” Snell said. “I just wanna feel as good as I can when the season starts. I could’ve pitched with it just fine, but I would’ve just had to deal with it.”
As for Opening Day, Snell is optimistic he’ll be on the 26-man roster on March 26 against the Pirates. But the club won’t force anything unless the left-hander is 100 percent. With the Rays expected to contend, the focus is on the long term and not looking to rush back for the start of the season.
Cash also added the club hasn’t addressed Opening Day. Instead, it is just looking to see how Snell continues to progress over the next couple of weeks.
“We’re going to have to see how he responds when he gets off the mound,” Cash said. “We’re optimistic he’ll be there. ... We’ll just see how much time lapses, how him and Kyle communicate when he does get back on the mound and how quickly he can ramp it back up.”