Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Smyly will not need surgery on his injured right shoulder, according to a report by Steve Carney of 620 WDAE radio in Tampa:
Drew Smyly says none of the doctors he consulted with on his shoulder mentioned surgery. Feels he can be back pitching in 8 weeks. #Rays— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) May 21, 2015
It was initially reported that Smyly would likely need season-ending surgery on his torn labrum, but this news suggests he could be back in Tampa Bay's rotation by late July.
Smyly made three starts for the Rays this season before the injury, allowing five runs, all earned, on 10 hits in 16⅔ innings, walking three and striking out 21.
Having Smyly return at any point this season would be a boon for the Rays' rotation that has already lost Alex Cobb for the season to Tommy John surgery, especially given the struggles of Alex Colome and Erasmo Ramirez at the back end.
Colome has made four starts in 2015, posting a 6.05 ERA in 19⅓ innings, though he has just walked two and struck out 16. Ramirez has also made four starts this season, with a 6.23 ERA in 17⅓ innings as a starter. He also has a 6.75 ERA in a dozen relief innings for a 6.44 ERA overall in 29⅓ innings in 2015.
Smyly, on the other hand, posted a 3.24 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 153 innings last season between Detroit and Tampa Bay, walking 42 and striking out 133. He was even better during his seven starts with the Rays after being acquired in the David Price trade, with a 1.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in 47⅔ innings, allowing 25 hits and 11 walks with 44 strikeouts. If the Rays can stay close to the division-leading Yankees, the return of Smyly could be just what is needed to put them over the top.