Blake Snell, ace pitcher of the Tampa Bay Rays and the 2018 American League Cy Young winner, is hitting the injured list. The Rays announced on Thursday that Snell will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow to remove a loose body. Josh Tolentino of the Athletic, who first reported the news, said that the surgery is scheduled for the upcoming weekend, and Snell is expected to miss at least four weeks.
P Blake Snell has been placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to Monday, July 22, due to loose bodies in his left elbow.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 25, 2019
Snell is anticipated to be ready to return to the club in September. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/1jti6SGf6c
Snell, 26, had an otherworldly 2018 campaign. He pitched 180.2 innings, a career high, and ended the season with a 1.89 ERA and 21 wins over 31 starts. His 2019 has been a bit of a comedown from those lofty heights. He has a 4.28 ERA over 20 starts, which is a far cry from where he was last year.
It hasn’t been like that all season, though — Snell had a 3.06 ERA by the end of May. June was not kind to him, though. He made five starts that month, and the first four were horrendous. (An 11.64 ERA over those four starts definitely qualifies as horrendous.) But since then, it’s felt like the Snell-issance. In the four starts he’s made since June 30, Snell has a 1.64 ERA and lowered his ERA by nearly an entire run.
The Rays are currently 10 games behind the first place New York Yankees in the American League East, one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox. Catching the Yankees is a tall order, but they don’t need to do that to make the playoffs. The Rays are currently one game out of the AL wild-card, nipping at the heels of both the Oakland Athletics and the Cleveland Indians.
Four weeks is a long time this late in the baseball season, but September is an important month. If Snell comes back healthy and ready to deal, he could make a huge impact — if the Rays are still within throwing distance of the wild-card race. We know that Snell has the potential to be brilliant, and if the Rays can survive the next 4-5 weeks without him, there might be a heckuva season finale in their future.
More from Yahoo Sports: