The Tampa Bay Rays and their fans should be really excited given some of the latest news regarding some key pitchers returning to action. With guys like Tyler Glasnow, Yonny Chirinos, and Brendan McKay having been shelved all-season long, it's possible they could all be ready to get back with the club real soon as we hurdle toward a postseason run.
Let's start with the "other" ace for the Rays, Tyler Glasnow. Obviously he's been recovering from a Tommy John Surgery performed just over a year ago, but the pace in which he's been recovering has been remarkable. According to Marc Topkin over at the Tampa Bay Times, pitching coach Kyle Snyder said the chance of Glasnow pitching this year is "not zero... let's just say that much." This is HUGE news for the Rays, as the club has barely even mentioned the thought of him trying to pitch in 2022 given his injury. Last year, it was said he wouldn't see the mound again until 2023.
He's been progressing faster than anyone could have imagined, throwing full speed off a mound for over a month now. That's 98 MPH juice, folks. There are still many steps in the rehab process he'll have to pass before eventually throwing in meaningful games again, but having a second ace in your staff at any time creates a problem for other teams. Similar to Shane McClanahan's dominance in the first half of this year, Glasnow lit up the stat sheet every time he took the mound last year up until injury. If he returns to anything like that form, I would only like to wish luck to opposing hitters.
Another encouraging sign for the Rays has been Yonny Chirinos finally returning to game action, competing in a rehab assignment as he works his way back from his own Tommy John Surgery in 2020. Just a week ago, he fanned 3 hitters across 4 scoreless innings of work in the Florida Complex League before getting promoted to Single-A Charleston. Broadcaster for the RiverDogs Jason Kempf has gotten a good look at Chirinos and seems to be liking what he's seeing thus far:
It's likely Chirinos could progress through his rehab start with a nice pace if he continues to work efficient innings as he has. His sinker command has been one of the things that can make or break an outing for him, so I think that'll be a point of emphasis during his rehab as well. Having an established arm like Chirinos out of the back end of the Rays' bullpen provides elite depth as an option for bulk innings, middle relief, interim starter, even a possible set up man. I would anticipate him re-joining the Rays around late August to early September.
And who could forget, the Rays' #2 pick in the 2017 draft, Brendan McKay. That's right, after having to get thoracic outlet syndrome surgery that's kept him out for most of 2020 and 2021, McKay has been throwing with the Charleston RiverDogs as well. Similar to Yonny, he began his rehab assignment last week at the FCL and gave up one run and 4 hits while striking out 2 across 2.2 innings. The young talent still has things to develop, but it's encouraging nonetheless to seem him out on the mound again after so much time away. He could also be a very nice bullpen addition for the Rays come time in late September, but I'll be interested to see if they elect to keep him in AAA as a starter.
Oh, and have I mentioned JT Chargois and Nick Anderson have been firing scoreless innings in AAA for weeks, and are probably set to re-join the bullpen very soon? I think we're going to be in for a treat.