Brad Boxberger's season got off on the wrong foot with a spring training abdominal injury. His absence at the beginning of the season allowed Alex Colome to take over and subsequently thrive in the closer's role, leaving Boxberger to help with setup duty upon his return in late May. An oblique injury then sent him back to the DL after just one appearance, but the right-hander was finally able to settle in for an uninterrupted stretch of action from July 31 onward. He finished with four victories and seven holds, but also three blown saves. Boxberger saw notable regression in his strikeout and walk rates, with his 8.1 K/9 and 7.0 BB/9 representing career-worst marks by a significant margin. Colome's emergence, coupled with Boxberger's uneven performance, could render the latter an afterthought in 2017 drafts.
Boxberger (back) will officially start the season on the disabled list and is scheduled to take a week off throwing before building back up, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. It was announced Monday that Boxberger was unlikely to be ready prior to Opening Day, as he continues to deal with a strained lat muscle that has plagued him since early March. The penciled-in setup man won't be ready for the opener, but still aims to return to the Rays at some point in April. Until then, the Rays will have to mix and match with the likes of Xavier Cedeno, Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Farquhar in the seventh and eighth innings.
Manager Kevin Cash said Monday that it's unlikely Boxberger (back) will be ready to pitch by Opening Day, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I just don't see how [Boxberger being ready for Opening Day] is going to happen. I'm not saying it won't, but it's very tough for me -- where are we at, the 20th?" Cash said. "Realistically, key piece in our bullpen, we're going to do right by him and want him to get his innings and reps. It's going to be very difficult to do that.'' Boxberger's strained lat muscle hasn't responded to treatment as well as the Rays had hoped, and after the team scratched him from his scheduled Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday, it's become increasingly clear that the reliever may be forced to hit the DL. The Rays were counting on Boxberger to solidify himself as the top setup man to closer Alex Colome this spring, but it now appears that Cash will be forced to experiment with multiple different options in the seventh and eighth inning to begin the campaign.
Boxberger (lat/back) pitched a strong and setback-free batting practice session Saturday, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Boxberger was reportedly a bit off on his first 10 or so pitches but then finished the session strong and emerged healthy. He's still shooting to pitch in a minor league game Tuesday, but manager Kevin Cash maintains that the team will not push Boxberger to be ready for Opening Day, particularly after the Rays had to endure long stretches without him last season.
Boxberger (lat/back) will throw a live batting practice session Saturday and could pitch in a minor league game as soon as Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin reports. He threw a bullpen session earlier this week, and this latest news indicates that everything is going quite well in his recovery. Boxberger is firmly behind Alex Colome in the Rays' bullpen, but he could be next in line for saves if Colome gets hurt or traded.
Boxberger (back) will throw a bullpen session Wednesday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. After his bullpen session Monday went well, Boxberger will toss another as he aims to progress to his first appearance of the spring. The Rays don't have a firm target date for his Grapefruit League debut, but the right-handed reliever indicated that he will "definitely" be ready for Opening Day.