Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Shane Baz will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss both the rest of the 2022 season and the entirety of the 2023 campaign, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds that the Rays will also be without second baseman Brandon Lowe for the remainder of this year due to a back injury.
Baz, 23 years old, had been on the injured list since mid-July because of what was described as a right elbow strain. That was his second stint on the shelf this year because of arm issues. He'd previously missed the start of the year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in the spring to remove loose bodies.
"They're very, very happy with the way everything else looked. We're fortunate," manager Kevin Cash said at the time. "I know he's frustrated. I know he's disappointed. Just because [of] what he accomplished last year and how he helped us at the end of the season, he was looking forward to the beginning [of this season], but he's going to be just fine."
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Those ailments limited Baz to just six starts this season. In those outings, he accumulated a 5.00 ERA (73 ERA+) and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Assuming Baz does indeed miss all of next season (recovery from Tommy John surgery tends to take at least 12 months), he'll have been limited to nine big-league games in three years. That's far from ideal considering his promise and potential importance to the Rays.
Lowe, for his part, will finish his campaign with just 65 games played. He batted .221/.308/.383 (103 OPS+) with eight home runs and a steal in 266 plate appearances. Alas, Lowe required three trips to the injured list this year: two for lower back issues and another for a right triceps contusion. The Rays have recently taken to a committee approach to the keystone in Lowe's absence, rotating Taylor Walls, Jonathan Aranda, Isaac Paredes, and Miles Mastrobuoni through second base in the past week alone.
Nevertheless, the Rays entered Saturday with an 84-67 record on the season, putting them in a tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League's top wild card spot.