June 6, 2023

The most dominant baseball team has lost another key pitcher.

The Tampa Bay Rays fielded starter Drew Rasmussen on the list of 60 days injured with a flexor strain on Friday that will sideline the right-hander for two months and possibly longer.

According to ESPN, Rasmussen told reporters he hopes to avoid a third Tommy John surgery, which would not only end his season, but potentially put him out for all of 2024. Rasmussen underwent the procedure in March 2016 and August 2017.

He apparently felt well enough to pitch seven shutout innings against the New York Yankees on Thursday against the New York Yankees in an 8-2 win, but reportedly noticed his speed was slow and his pitches took a different shape during the seventh inning. Manager Kevin Cash drew him on 76 pitches.

He described the problem as a nerve problem, via ESPN:

“Just more nerve sensitivity,” Rasmussen said. “No severe pain. The nerve flared up and as a precaution imaging was done and the tension came up there.”

Given that the Rays immediately placed him on the 60-day IL instead of the 15-day IL, they could be more than a little concerned.

The 30-9 Rays still hold the best baseball record for most runs scored and fewest runs allowed, and Rasmussen has certainly been part of that. The 27-year-old has a 2.62 ERA, a 1,052 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings over eight starts.

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen delivers to the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Like many other Rays, Drew Rasmussen has been great this season. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Losing Rasmussen for an extended period of time is especially brutal for the Rays because of who they were already on the IL. Jeffrey Springs, who seemed headed for a breakout season, is out a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, while closer Pete Fairbanks is still sidelined with the ever-ominous forearm infection.

Tyler Glasnow also hasn’t pitched an inning after starting the season on the IL due to oblique pain.