Rays LHP Snell (elbow) receives cortisone shot

Field Level Media

March 01, 2020 at 7:57 pm.

Tampa Bay Rays ace left-hander Blake Snell experienced elbow pain after his first spring start and there is no guarantee he will be ready for the March 26 season opener against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Snell tossed 21 pitches in Wednesday’s one-inning stint against the Minnesota Twins and was concerned the next day when he had soreness in the same area as last July’s elbow surgery. A CT scan came back clean and Snell received a cortisone shot to deal the inflammation.

Snell said the shot was precautionary when he met with reporters on Sunday.

“I’m not concerned at all about it,” he said. “Concerned enough to get a shot, yeah, just because the inflammation was annoying. But from a throwing standpoint, I do feel great.”

The 27-year-old Snell hopes to throw a bullpen session on Friday, and club brass — including pitching coach Kyle Snyder — will determine how to proceed after the outing.

“We’re going to have to see how he responds when he gets off the mound,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters. “We’re optimistic he’ll be there (Opening Day). … 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.”

Snell won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award when he went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA in 31 starts.

Last season, he was 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 23 starts.

Snell badly wants to recapture his 2018 form and reiterated that he expects to be on the mound on Opening Day.

“I still plan on it,” Snell said. “I should be, but we’ll see. I don’t think this is going to set me back much.”