With the Rays’ roster crunch settled (for now), let’s take a look at which injured players at the MLB and AAA level are expected to come back in 2022, and possibly make an impact to the MLB roster.
Nick Anderson - RHP - Right Elbow Surgery
Anderson didn’t make too many appearances in 2021, and when he did, he was only throwing 92 MPH. Later in the season it was revealed that Anderson had a partial UCL tear, and in late October, Dr. Keith Meister performed an internal brace procedure on Anderson. The recovery is shorter than the typical full UCL tear and the Tommy John Surgery that follows. Due to the shorter recovery, Anderson will be shut down for 3-4 months and is expected to return after the 2022 All Star Break.
Jaleen Beeks - LHP - Tommy John Surgery
Jaleen Beeks underwent Tommy John Surgery in August of 2020, and as of July 5th of 2021 Beeks described his recovery as “a slow ramp up, but feeling more like a pitcher”. Beeks also stated that he started throwing in June of 2021. You can hear more about Jalen Beeks’ recovery on the always wonderful Rays Radio Podcast (Beeks starts at 29:54).
As long as there aren’t any setbacks on his recovery, Beeks should be good to go by Spring Training in 2022, but will probably have his innings limited.
Yonny Chirinos - RHP - Tommy John Surgery
Before his latest setback, Yonny Chirinos was on track to return at full health by 2022 Spring Training. According to Marc Topkin at the Tampa Bay Times, Chirinos suffered a fractured elbow during live batting practice at the end of September. You may recall that former Rays prospect Brent Honeywell experienced the same sequence of UCL repair surgery followed by an elbow fracture. The bad news is that Chirinos had to undergo surgery again to insert a screw to repair the fracture, but thankfully the repaired UCL was not damaged in any way.
Tyler Glasnow - RHP - Tommy John Surgery
Glasnow was on track to what looked like his first All Star and Cy Young contention season with his added slider. But Glasnow was sidelined in mid-June for a partial UCL tear, and was hopeful that rehab would be enough to bring him back to the rotation. After a throwing session, it was decided that Tommy John Surgery would be the best course of action, and Glasnow underwent the knife on August 4, 2021. With the lengthy recovery process, it is likely that we won’t see Glasnow on the mound until 2023.
Brendan McKay - LHP/DH - Thoracic Outlet Surgery
At the end of November, Brendan McKay underwent TOS compression surgery, which was another injury on a long list for the former 1st round pick. In 2020, McKay underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, and in addition to some setbacks from that recovery, had a left arm flexor strain in August of this year. With all of the missed time, the Rays are expected to receive a 4th year option for McKay, so if the left hander does have a successful recovery, he more than likely will be spending some time in AAA and with an obvious innings limit.
Colin Poche - LHP - Tommy John Surgery
All the way back in 2020, Colin Poche suffered from a full UCL tear, and underwent TJS at end of July in the same year. TJS is typically a long recovery, but by the time 2022 Spring Training rolls around, it will be almost 2 years post surgery. Although there will be an innings limit as Poche gets back to a full workload, we haven’t heard of any setbacks, and he should be good to go for the 2022 season.
With the lockout going on, I’ve decided to open myself up to any local Little League teams who need an extra player. Now accepting offers! pic.twitter.com/6MtNKGTPQT— Colin Poche (@colinpoche) December 9, 2021
Jeffery Springs - LHP - Right Knee Surgery
Jeffery Springs was a considerable addition to the Rays’ bullpen in 2021. When he went down with what was originally labeled as a right knee sprain, the recovery outlook was optimistic and only listed at 2 to 4 weeks. Unfortunately, his rehab efforts were not effective, as he continued to suffer discomfort, and as a result, had to undergo ACL surgery in August. The recovery time for Springs is unknown, although typical recovery is in the 6 to 9 month range, which would put a return for Springs at April or May for full recovery, not counting any throwing or ramp up programs.
Ryan Thompson - RHP - Thoracic Outlet Surgery
Another TOS surgery for another Rays’ pitcher. Thompson was originally sidelined at the end of June with what was then described as “right shoulder inflammation”, but continuing setbacks during his recovery resulted in an August surgery. According to Marc Topkin, the Rays’ currently believe he will be ready for 2022 Spring Training.
Ryan Thompson, 81mph "Two Time Zone" Slider...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/D3ON7xnEG3— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2021
Matt Wisler - RHP - Right Finger Inflammation
Wisler re-injured his right middle finger in October in a late season series against the Red Sox, an injury that caused him to go in the IL in August and September. Nothing is known right now of his injury, so it should be assumed that he will be ready to go by the time pitchers and catchers report.
Kevin Kiermaier - CF - Right Knee Surgery
On November 3rd Kiermaier underwent arthroscopic surgery to take care of a small tear in his right knee. Although KK is notorious for spending time on the IL, he waited until the offseason to address this issue. Recovery is typically four to six weeks, which lines Kiermaier up to be ready by the beginning of Spring Training.
With one of the MLB’s top farm systems, the Rays look poised to have plenty of options in 2022, and should be able to manage a calculated ramp up for the recovering players. Along with that comes some tough roster decisions, if everybody is healthy. But that will be a very big, although welcomed, if.