CINCINNATI – Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs was placed on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday with a left elbow flexor strain that may require Tommy John surgery.
The 30-year-old Springs, a breakout star during the Rays' 13-0 start to the season, met Tuesday with Dr. Keith Meister, who specializes in the elbow ligament replacement procedure.
“Obviously, he’s going on the IL with an elbow issue,” manager Kevin Cash said before Tampa Bay's game at Cincinnati. “I think in fairness to Jeff, he’s still processing the information that he’s gotten. He met with the doctor. So I think we’re a day or two from him coming up with a decision on what is ideal for him and then a timetable from there.”
Tommy John surgery would end Springs' season.
Springs left after throwing two pitches in the fourth inning Thursday against Boston. He threw a 79.8 mph changeup and a 83.5 mph slider to Justin Turner, then looked at his hand and elbow. His injury was initially diagnosed as ulnar nerve inflammation.
“The pitch prior, kind of just felt a little bit of something in the elbow, forearm area,” Springs said after that game. “It was kind of hard to pinpoint.”
Springs went 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 games, including 25 starts, last season, his first in the Rays' rotation. He signed a four-year, $31 million contract in January.
The lefty was dominant in his first two starts of 2023, striking out 12 in six hitless innings in his debut on April 2 against Detroit, and then allowing three hits in seven scoreless innings against Oakland on April 8. He is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA.
The Rays activated Taj Bradley to start Tuesday against the Reds.