Blake Snell isn't concerned.
He's one of the few.
Snell and the Rays are downplaying the cortisone shot the southpaw received in his left elbow last week, with Rays manager Kevin Cash telling reporters he "isn't overly concerned" about his ace. Still, in the wake of the shot Snell won't make his scheduled start this week, although he, too, is not worried by the issue.
“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.”
“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.”
Of course, the elbow has been an issue for Snell as recently as last season. The 27-year-old missed two months due to loose bodies in his elbow last summer.
When he did pitch, Snell was again good, although not to the extent that he was during his 2018 AL Cy Young Award season. In 23 starts, the lefty had a 6-8 record with a 4.29 ERA but 3.32 FIP and 33.3 percent strikeout percentage.
Despite the injury and mediocre surface numbers, Snell isn't coming at much of a discount in drafts this spring. It remains to be seen how the recent elbow news will affect that.
If it were up to Snell, it wouldn't have an impact, because he thinks he'll still be ready for Opening Day.
“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.”
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Judge Ailed by Mysterious Discomfort
At least Snell knows the devil he's facing.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge continues to deal with discomfort in his right shoulder and pectoral area, an ailment that he and the club have had trouble identifying to this point. Judge will undergo more tests Monday in hopes that they can get a handle on the problem.
“He was down here a couple of weeks early working and kind of going through everything and getting that discomfort and that is where it returned when he started ramping up the last few days," Boone said. “A lot of treatment. A lot of eyes and hands on him trying to get to the bottom and free him up a little bit. We will see.
“It is frustrating that we haven’t pin-pointed exactly what it is and what caused the discomfort. But I would say I feel a little bit more optimistic."
Boone also said he's "very optimistic" Judge's ailment, as well as the right calf strain suffered by Giancarlo Stanton, are not long-term issues.
Health has been an issue for the 27-year-old since the start his major league career. He missed 19 days with a right oblique strain in his rookie year in 2016, sustained a right wrist fracture that cost him seven weeks in 2018 and missed two months last year with a left oblique strain.
His absence from Grapefruit League games has given further opportunity for once-top prospect Clint Frazier to earn his way onto the Opening Day roster. Frazier had three hits in his first 10 spring at-bats, including a laser over the left field wall, and the 25-year-old might even lay claim to a starting job in a corner outfield spot if he continues to exhibit the offensive tools that made him the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Cutch Not Likely Ready for Opening Day
An ACL tear cost Andrew McCutchen the entire second half of last season, and it's threatening to cut into the first half of the approaching season as well.
McCutchen was told by Phillies doctors that he won't be ready for Opening Day as he continues to work back from the torn left ACL suffered last June.
“Could you go out there and play a game? I think I could. But could I play to the best of my ability? Probably not,” McCutchen said over the weekend. “I need to be me, I need to be Andrew McCutchen when I’m out there on the field. So, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, progressing the way that we’re progressing, keep putting the work in that we’re putting in so I can be that. But just because they said it’s unlikely I’ll be ready for opening day, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m coming in here going, ‘I’m going to be ready for opening day.’ I have to tell myself I’ll still be ready for that so I can go out there, get the work in, and not just go through the motions and prolong this process.”
The 33-year-old is maintaining hope he'll be back shortly after the opener, but in the meantime the Phillies will likely roll with some combination of Jay Bruce, Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley in left field.
National League Quick Hits: Eugenio Suarez (shoulder) took swings off a batting tee on Friday. It's the first time Suarez has swung with both arms since he had surgery in January to remove loose cartilage in his right shoulder. He also did a little more throwing for the second day in a row ... Jacob deGrom delivered three scoreless innings Sunday in Grapefruit League play against the Nationals ... Freddie Freeman (elbow) could return to Grapefruit League action as soon as Monday ... Dinelson Lamet recorded three strikeouts over three scoreless frames Saturday in his Cactus League debut against the Reds ... Walker Buehler spun two perfect frames Saturday in his Cactus League debut against the Rockies ... Freddy Peralta recorded three strikeouts over three scoreless innings Saturday in a Cactus League start against the Cubs. It was an extremely impressive performance by Peralta, who inked a five-year, $15.5 million extension with the Brewers earlier in the week ... Nick Senzel (shoulder) fully expects to be on the Reds' roster for Opening Day ... Victor Robles underwent an MRI after uncorking a wild throw in a Grapefruit League game earlier this week. No word on exactly what is ailing Robles but Peter Kerzel of MASN Sports reports the MRI came back clean and that Robles is considered day-to-day.
American League Quick Hits: Corey Kluber allowed two runs over three innings Sunday in his Cactus League debut versus the Dodgers ... Giancarlo Stanton (calf) is expected to resume light exercises on Sunday ... Carlos Carrasco (hip) will make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday ... Chris Sale (illness) will throw a two-inning simulated game on Thursday ... Lance McCullers (elbow) faced just three batters in his Grapefruit League debut Sunday versus the Cardinals. That was the plan all along, though, and he looked relatively sharp, throwing 10 of his 16 pitches for strikes while touching 94 mph on the stadium radar gun ... Andrew Benintendi has been out of action for a couple days due to a tight quad ... Angels manager Joe Maddon said Sunday that "it would be hard to imagine" Griffin Canning (elbow) not beginning the season on the injured list ... Jesus Luzardo recorded three strikeouts over three scoreless frames in a Cactus League start versus an Indians’ split-squad on Sunday ... Nathan Eovaldi worked three scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League start Sunday versus the Braves ... Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) fired three scoreless innings with six strikeouts on Saturday in his Grapefruit League debut against the Yankees ... Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi is displaying increased velocity with his fastball and his slider early in camp. The Japanese right-hander averaged 92.5 miles per hour on his fastball as a rookie last year. He is sitting between 94 and 96 mph on his heater this spring.