The Tampa Bay Rays could be close to getting back one of their starting pitchers. Drew Smyly will make at least two more rehab starts before rejoining the team, according to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The first of those two outings will take place today, with a second one early next week.
Matt Moore's return from Tommy John surgery hasn't gone well. He was recently optioned to Triple-A in order to work on the struggles in his return. In six starts, Moore went 1-3 with a 8.78 ERA over 26.2 innings. With Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi leading the way, and with Smyly close to returning, the Rays clearly felt it would be better to let Moore work out his kinks in the minors.
Smyly is coming off of a shoulder tear that originally put his season in jeopardy. He made three starts before getting hurt, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA. Adding him with Archer, Odorizzi, Nate Karns and Erasmo Ramirez gives the Rays a strong base of starting pitching.
With the way the schedule works out, the Rays won't need a fifth starter until August 18th, which may be around when Smyly is ready to return. Getting him back gives manager Kevin Cash more options to go to, and when rosters expand, he can make sure to not burn any of these starters out, especially Smyly.