Shane Baz Set to Begin Rehab Assignment Following Elbow Surgery

The Tampa Bay Rays got good news this morning when team doctors cleared Shane Baz for rehab. The 22 year old pitcher has been out since late March.

Baz saw his first MLB action late last season, debuting on September 20 against Toronto. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs, and striking out five en route to his first career win. Baz got two more starts before the end of the year, tallying one win and a no-decision. He carried a lot of momentum into the offseason, but was derailed when the team discovered loose bodies in his throwing elbow ahead of the 2022 season.

Imaging showing loose bodies (Credit: BMJ Case Reports)

Most sports fans have heard or read the term “loose bodies” before, but don’t know exactly what that means. Loose bodies are small fragments or pieces of cartilage or bone that have broken off and are “floating” in the joint. They are sometimes painful, but are more commonly marked by a catching or locking sensation in the joint where they are located. The cause is most often overuse of the joint, however a traumatic injury to the area – such as a fall – can cause loose bodies to break off as well.

Like many other pitchers this offseason, the lockout limited the work Baz could do as well as his access to team doctors and trainers, which is why it took until March to discover. While the surgery delayed his season debut, it also offered some positive news to Baz.

“Basically, [it was a] big relief,” Baz said about the surgery. “[Dr. Keith] Meister was saying that everything else in my elbow looks pristine, and he was like, ‘There’s no wear and tear. I really didn’t have to clean you up,’ kind of thing. So I’m definitely really happy with all that.”

The team announced that Baz’ rehab assignment will begin Thursday, May 19 with the Durham Bulls. He is expected to pitch just two innings, and will require multiple minor league starts before he is able to rejoin the Rays.

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