When he's been on the field this season, Drew Smyly has been tremendous.
Unfortunately, staying on the field has been an issue.
After missing most of the first month of the season with tendinitis in his left shoulder, Smyly was placed on the disabled list again Friday, retroactive to Wednesday, with general shoulder soreness. The Rays didn't have any immediate outlook for Smyly on Friday.
Rays manager Kevin Cash didn't offer much in the way of reassurance when asked about the level of concern regarding the southpaw.
"We're concerned about everybody. The way the season has gone, the way some of these injuries…," Cash said. "He's no different than anybody else. We're always concerned about any of our guys that have any issues."
When he's been on the mound, Smyly has been everything the Rays thought they were getting when they acquired him from the Tigers at last season's trade deadline. In three starts, Smyly has a 2.70 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 21/3 K/BB ratio over 16 2/3 innings this year. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his three starts thus far.
A recurrence of his shoulder troubles is certainly worrisome, though. Once the Rays specify what Smyly is facing -- soreness is a vague ailment that likely undersells the extent of the injury; most players don't go on the disabled list due to soreness -- it will be easier to know how to treat him. For now, owners are forced to wait patiently for another chance to reap the benefits of a healthy Smyly.
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Setback For Parker
The situation surrounding Jarrod Parker's right elbow injury is similarly cloudy.
Things appear bad, though, after Parker was forced to leave a rehab start Friday with an elbow injury. Parker, pitching for Triple-A Nashville, reportedly left the game holding his elbow after throwing a wild pitch. Reports from the ballpark said he collapsed on the ground before a Nashville trainer helped him off the field.
The A's, per the San Jose Mercury News, confirmed the injury in an email but wouldn't offer any specifics about the injury or Parker's outlook. The club said no details would be released until Parker sees a doctor.
An elbow injury is never good for a pitcher, but it's especially troubling for a guy coming back from his second Tommy John surgery. Parker is 14 months removed from the second procedure and he was close to a return to the A's. The team hoped he would push his pitch count up to 90 in Friday's rehab start, and the expectation was that he would be in Oakland by the end of the month.
Now, there are nothing but questions. Another serious injury would be devastating to the A's and the 26-year-old. As it stands, the situation is ominous, but the Athletics should offer some clarity soon.
From pitchers going down to pitchers coming up, a top pitching prospect is set to make his major league debut Tuesday.
Gee's loss is Syndergaard's gain. The 22-year-old, a former first-round pick of the Blue Jays who was part of the R.A. Dickey trade, has earned the look after posting a 1.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 34/8 K/BB ratio over 29 2/3 innings at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the opportunity for Syndergaard -- rather than another top prospect like Steven Matz -- is based on merit.
"This is a year-plus at Triple-A and he's certainly done a nice job there to date [and] his last three starts have really been overpowering," Alderson said of Syndergaard. "So from that standpoint, he's deserving."
The start is expected to be isolated, but the possibility of Syndergaard grabbing hold of a rotation spot can't be dismissed. With the team starting his service time clock, there's little incentive for a club with designs on winning this year to keep a productive pitcher in the minors. He's only guaranteed Tuesday, but Syndergaard has the talent to force the Mets to keep him around well beyond.
National League Quick Hits: Matt Carpenter didn't travel with the Cardinals to Pittsburgh due to what the team is calling "extreme fatigue." While not terribly scary-sounding, a player not traveling with a team for a road trip is cause for concern. The Cardinals should shed some more light on his condition shortly ... David Wright was shut down after experiencing lower back pain, but he's expected to resume baseball activities on Monday. The good news is that Wright's right hamstring appears to be alright, so he's still got a shot at returning from the disabled list sometime next week ... There isn't a more dangerous hitter going right now than Bryce Harper. After a three-homer game Wednesday, Harper mashed two more dingers Friday. The 22-year-old had five RBI and now has 10 home runs, 25 RBI and 23 runs scored on the year ... Dee Gordon was out of the Marlins' lineup Friday with a leg injury. Despite missing the start, the injury isn't thought to be serious and Gordon is considered day to day ... a bone bruise in his right shoulder sent Yonder Alonso to the 15-day disabled list Friday. Alonso suffered the injury in Thursday's game, and Wil Myers started at first base for the Padres on Friday ... Aramis Ramirez was a late scratch from the Brewers' lineup Friday. Ramirez was scratched with lower back tightness, and it's unclear how the ailment might affect his availability in the coming days ... Cole Hamels got the better of a matchup with Matt Harvey on Friday. The southpaw limited the Mets to one run on four hits over seven innings, striking out eight ... Gio Gonzalez also struck out eight in the Nationals' win over the Braves. Gio allowed two runs over seven innings of work.
American League Quick Hits: The expectation was that Alex Cobb would eventually require Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but the future is now as Cobb revealed Friday that he'll undergo the surgery soon. Cobb said he's been diagnosed with a full tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, and the hope is that he'll be back with the Rays in September 2016 ... Jered Weaver earned his first win of the season in style, tossing a complete-game shutout of the Astros Friday. Weaver scattered six hits while striking out six in the effort, using 120 pitches to finish the deed ... Torii Hunter had a big night Friday, going 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI in a win over the Indians. He's now hitting .441 in the month of May ... Aaron Sanchez was effectively wild in a win over the Red Sox on Friday. The right-hander allowed a scant two hits but walked five over seven shutout innings ... Nate Karns struck out nine in a victory over the Rangers. Karns allowed two runs over seven-plus innings in the outing ... Reports of Mike Pelfrey's death were at least slightly exaggerated. After a disastrous past few years, Pelfrey improved to 3-0 by limiting the Indians to two runs over seven innings Friday. Although it's not likely to last, Big Pelf currently owns a shiny 2.62 ERA on the year.