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Tampa Bay Rays: Should we be worried about Blake Snell?

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 03: Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays works out during their Summer Workout at Tropicana Field on July 03, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 03: Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays works out during their Summer Workout at Tropicana Field on July 03, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell pitched on a televised intrasquad game and his summer camp struggles continued.

The Tampa Bay Rays are being picked by pundits across the nation as a potential World Series contender, in large part due to their formidable trio of ace pitchers. One piece to that puzzle is the 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

Snell had arthroscopic surgery last year around this time to remove loose bodies from his elbow. During the original spring training, Snell required a cortisone shot in the elbow due to discomfort.

In yesterday’s televised game Snell was able to reach 47 pitches with only 23 going for strikes.

Meanwhile, Charlie Morton believes he can pitch at least five innings on Opening Day and did so in his last simulated game.

Tyler Glasnow recently returned from a two-week absence due to testing positive for COVID-19 and he was able to reach 68 pitches in last night’s game. Glasnow already believes that he can pitch five or six innings in a game that counts.

Snell walked four and is unsure if it will take one or two starts to get ramped up to be able to complete five or six innings.

He has insisted the elbow feels fine and even encouraged “us” to stop worrying about it. However, he admitted after yesterday’s game that he’s not yet 100% stamina-wise.

Snell made it two innings but those “innings” were ended before reaching three outs in order to manage Snell’s pitch count.

In all, he gave up one earned run, two hits, and four walks. The bright side to his outing was that he is raising the pitch count and attempting to get a feel for the breaking ball.

Tampa Bay Rays – The good news about Blake Snell

The reality is, this outing wasn’t meant to impress anyone. These simulated games are about working out the kinks and stretching the arm out. Manager Kevin Cash seemed pleased with his progress. If he can add 15-20 pitches his next time out, that will put him at a respectable 65-70 pitches in his first start of the season.

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Perhaps Snell’s first start will be a great time for the team to employ the “piggyback” method with a guy like the red-hot Trevor Richards relieving him in the middle innings. The team has not yet announced who the third starter will be behind Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough.

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