Sunday March 8th, 2015

Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Drew Smyly might not be ready for the start of the season due to tendonitis in his left shoulder.

On Sunday, the Rays confirmed a report from the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday that said Smyly was dealing with a shoulder issue. Smyly, a 25-year-old left-hander in line to be the Rays' No. 3 starter, was behind in his throwing program when he reported for spring training due to a strained tendon in his left middle finger that sidelined him for about six weeks.

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee experiencing more elbow discomfort

[]Rays manager Kevin Cash said Smyly's finger injury is a "non-issue," but the shoulder issue is forcing the team to proceed cautiously. Smyly acknowledged that the tendonitis in his shoulder likely stemmed from him trying to get caught up in his throwing program, though neither Smyly nor Cash said the shoulder issue was serious.

"Only thing you can relate it to is maybe since it put my offseason throwing program behind schedule I maybe tried to escalate everything too quickly and that can cause shoulder issues," Smyly said, according to the Times. "It's just tight. I've got lots of knots and my shoulder is tight. We're just getting treatment and I'll probably start playing catch in a couple days."

Smyly was traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Rays last July in the three-team deal that sent star left-hander David Price to the Tigers. In seven starts with the Rays after the trade, Smyly went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA, 44 strikeouts and 11 walks in 47 2/3 innings.

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Asked about Smyly's availability for the start of the season, Cash said it was too early to provide a definite answer.

"We just don't know yet," Cash said, according to the Times. "I think it's fair to say there's a concern, but it's so early we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. The shoulder, he's improving daily. So, he's a big part of what we're doing so we want to be precautionary and cautious with how we get him ramped up here."

Mike Fiammetta

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