Rays pitching staff suffers another blow as Drew Rasmussen hits 60-day IL with flexor strain

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The most dominant team in baseball has lost another important pitcher.

Tampa Bay Rays keep starter Drew Rasmussen on the 60-day injured list With a flexor strain on Friday, the right-handed batsman was sidelined for two months and possibly longer.

Per ESPN, Rasmussen told reporters that he hoped to avoid a third Tommy John surgery, which would not only end his season but potentially rule him out for all of 2024 as well. Rasmussen underwent the procedure in March 2016 and in August 2017.

He apparently felt fine enough to throw seven shutout innings in an 8-2 win against the New York Yankees on Thursday, but he reportedly said he noticed that his velocity was down and that his pitches were off during the seventh inning. The size was different. Manager Kevin Cash pulled him on 76 pitches.

He described the issue as a nerve problem, via ESPN:

“Just more nerve sensitivity,” Rasmussen said. “ severe pain. Nerve flared up and imaging done as a precaution and the tension is there.”

Given that the Rays immediately placed him on 60- IL instead of 15-day IL, they might be a little worried.

The 30-9 Rays still have the best record in baseball for most runs allowed and fewest runs allowed, and Rasmussen has certainly been a part of that. The 27-year-old has a 2.62 ERA, 1.052 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings over eight starts.

Like many other Rays, Drew Rasmussen has been spectacular this season. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Losing Rasmussen for an extended amount of time is especially brutal for the Rays considering they were already on IL. Jeffrey Springs, who looked to be on his way to a breakout season, is out for a year after Tommy John surgery, while closer Pete Fairbanks is still sidelined with the always-ominous forearm inflammation.

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Tyler Glasnow also hasn't pitched an inning since starting the season on IL due to oblique soreness.