It appears Jeffrey Springs’ promising 2023 season with the Tampa Bay Rays is over.
The Rays on Tuesday placed Springs on the 15-day injured list with a left elbow flexor strain, an injury that is expected to require Tommy John surgery and sideline the pitcher into the 2024 season, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Springs exited his start last Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, whom he played for during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Red Sox traded Springs to the Rays, along with pitcher Chris Mazza, for catcher Ronaldo Hernández before the 2021 campaign. The left-hander has since blossomed into a very valuable contributor.
Springs, used exclusively as a reliever in his lone season with Boston and his first season with Tampa Bay, transitioned into a starter in 2022. The results were excellent, as Springs went 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.071 WHIP in 33 appearances (25 starts) spanning 135 1/3 innings.
Springs carried that momentum throughout his first two starts of 2023. He tossed six no-hit innings while striking out 12 against the Detroit Tigers on April 2 and fired seven more shutout frames with seven strikeouts against the Oakland Athletics on April 8. ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan even predicted after Springs’ back-to-back victories to start the season that he’d ultimately win the American League Cy Young Award.
There will be no such hardware for Springs in 2023 now that he’s reportedly expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. It’s a huge blow to the Rays, who won their first 13 games and entered Tuesday atop the AL East with a 14-3 record, especially when you consider Tampa Bay signed Springs to a four-year, $31 million contract extension back in January.
The Rays recalled right-hander Taj Bradley from Triple-A Durham in a corresponding roster move Tuesday.