Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher "Highly Unlikely" To Be Ready For Season

After a career breakthrough season in 2022 with the Tampa Bay Rays, 2023 is starting out as a pain in the neck—literally—for 32-year-old right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong. 

The journeyman is dealing with a neck injury that has made him "highly unlikely to be ready” for Opening Day, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash. The team is still trying to learn more about the injury before determining a specific timeline for his return. "I don't think anything's been defined with what exactly is going on," explained Cash, "but it doesn't appear that he's turning that corner in a positive way."

Armstrong has tried his hand with four different major league clubs since 2019, including two stints with the Rays. It was second time's a charm for him in Tampa, as he posted a 3.60 ERA in 55 innings after coming over from the Miami Marlins at the end of May last season. He had an impressive 61:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio, whiffing 10 batters per nine innings. 

Some of the names expected to get a shot at Armstrong's spot in the Rays' bullpen to start the season include Colby WhiteCalvin FaucherTrevor Kelley, Heath HembreeKyle Crick and Ryan Burr. 

Photo: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports