This is not what the doctor ordered, as Tampa Bay Rays highly touted pitching prospect Jose De Leon will begin the season on the disabled list.
The news broke just as the Tampa Bay Rays announced their minor league rosters was not what anyone wanted to hear which was their highly touted pitching prospect Jose De Leon would open the season on the minor league disabled list due to discomfort in the flexor mass muscle.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, De Leon had experienced forearm discomfort last week, which was resolved with rest. While that is all good news, it is still of concern as last season he spent time on the DL with Triple-A Oklahoma City due to soreness in his arm.
For those wondering what the flexor mass muscle is, well it is in your forearm by the elbow. They are the tendons that connect arm muscles to finger bones that stretch from the elbow to the fingers, which allow a pitcher to grip and throw a ball. Pitchers Andrew Miller, Stephen Strasburg, former Rays Wade Davis has sustained such an injury where they’ve miss a month or so. However, flexor mass problems can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
Acquired this offseason from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Logan Forsythe, De Leon was headed to Triple-A Durham where he would begin his first season in the organization. However, regardless where he would pitch the Rays had all intentions of limiting his innings.
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Last season he logged 103.1 innings between the minors and the Dodgers – so this stint on the DL will only help the organization with his innings. On the other hand, there was speculation that he would be called up in mid-May to take over the fifth spot in the rotation currently held by Matt Andriese. Calling him up at this time would then give the Rays another year of control.
De Leon left spring training to join team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic where he would pitch in the second round. His performance for Puerto Rico was nothing but outstanding in his 2.3 innings of shutout baseball, where he allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out five in Puerto Rico’s win over Venezuela.
However, his spring with the Rays was not as outstanding. In his two starts, logging 3.2 innings of work, his record would stand at 0-1 with a 17.18 ERA in which he allowed seven runs (all earned) on four hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.
Meanwhile, De Leon will remain in Port Charlotte in extended spring training, strengthening his arm before heading to Durham. Hopefully, this issue is just a minor setback with little or no lingering effects on his pitching with just rest being the key to a full recovery.