Rays set to get key pitcher back as rehab assignment commences after Tommy John

Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day
Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages

There is some big news in the injury realm for the Tampa Bay Rays as southpaw Jeffrey Springs has begun rehab at Triple-A level with the Durham Bulls. Springs suffered a tough elbow injury last season where and needed Tommy John surgery back in April of 2023. He made just three starts before going down.

On Wednesday, Springs made an appearance in Durham's game against the Charlotte Knights. He came in for a quick and pitched two innings, giving up one hit and tallying three strikeouts. His average velocity on pitches sat in the low 90s.

Durham obviously is taking the rehab slow, which is the smart play considering Springs would become one of the headline pitchers in Tampa Bay's rotation upon an official return to St. Pete.

The last good sample size of pitching Tampa Bay saw from Springs was during the 2022 season when he made 25 starts. During that time, he finished with a 9-5 record and a 2.46 ERA, which is a career best in six seasons. He had 144 strikeouts and 31 walks in 135.1 innings of work, giving the Rays valuable play in a starting spot.

Springs' return will be huge for Tampa Bay. The starting rotation has been battered for a while, leaving them swapping many different pitchers in and out this season, like Tyler Alexander, Ryan Pepiot, Taj Bradley, Zack Littell, etc. Springs will be a mainstay in the rotation alongside Zach Eflin and Aaron Civale.

Tampa Bay is also towards the bottom of major league baseball (24th) in team ERA and Springs' performance can help that number improve. This rehab is good news for the Rays and gives them some more steam as they remain in the thick of the American League wild card race as the summer progresses.