After undergoing elbow surgery in late March, Rays pitcher Shane Baz is set to return this weekend in Minnesota. Tentatively, he is slated to start the second game of the series on Saturday. This will be the first game he has pitched in the MLB since game two of the ALDS against the Red Sox in 2021.
His return comes on the heels of a dominating rehab start for the Durham Bulls where he pitched 4 1/3 innings and recorded ten strikeouts on 79 pitches. In total, he recorded twenty strikeouts and just four walks across three rehab starts in AAA.
Baz's reemergence comes at an opportune time as the Rays have recently optioned Ryan Yarbrough to AAA leaving a hole in the starting rotation. He will join fellow youngsters, Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen at the top of a pitching staff that has all the potential to be one of the league's best. Corey Kluber and Jeffery Springs round out the rotation.
His first opponent will not be an easy one however as he will face the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins on the road. However, it will be a good test to see just how ready the 22-year-old is to join a team that badly needs his arm every five days.
With the return of Baz imminent, Rays fans are close to seeing the team that they were promised at the start of the season. Both Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco should return within a month and they will do so with what promises to be one of the league's best pitching staffs.