Tyler Glasnow strikes out two in first rehab start

ST. PETERSBURG — Tyler Glasnow, the Rehabbing Rays’ ace, pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts in his first Minor League rehabilitation game for Triple-A Durham.

The most important thing about Glasnow’s first game action since June 14, 2021?

“I feel good,”Glasnow called Durham Bulls Athletic Park by phone. “It all feels pretty normal.”

Glasnow threw 19 pitches (11 strikes), and his fastball clocked in between 96-98 mph against the top of the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup. He then issued a leadoff walked to Anthony Volpe, the top prospect. Then he retired each of his next three hitters: A swinging strikeout (called strikeout), and a groundout to rehab shortstop Wander Franco.

The 6-foot-8 righty had been facing hitters during live batting practice over the past few week, but Wednesday marked his first appearance in a game after his early exit. He had previously worked four innings against Guaranteed Rate Field last summer. Glasnow had Tommy John surgery last August, and he’s been working his way back since.

The Rays designed Glasnow’s rehabThey had a 2023 return in their minds, which they recently reiterated when he signed an extension of two years through the ‘24 season. However, it’s possible that Glasnow could pitch for Tampa Bay this season, depending on how he bounces back physically now that he’s pitching in games again.

A Rays team that could see Shane McClanahan return late next week would be greatly helped by Glasnow’s return. Glasnow, who had a 2.66 ERA in 14 of his first 14 starts, looked like one the most talented pitchers in Major League Baseball. He also had 123 strikeouts and a 2.66 ERA in 14.

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Glasnow said he’s sometimes felt sore after his live BP sessions, but his between-outings recovery has “definitely been trending up.” How he feels after Wednesday’s outing will determine what comes next.

“I’m going to have to wait and see, like, [how I feel] recovery-wise, I guess, and then kind of get back with them and figure out what they want me to do,”Glasnow said. “I’m assuming I’m probably going to throw more [in Triple-A rehab games], I guess. Really, I don’t know. I think it’s like a rolling schedule at this point, but I think it’s more waking up and like figuring out how I’ve recovered, and just checking all those boxes.”

He also checked the other Wednesday night.

In a white No. Glasnow wore a white No. 29 Durham Bulls jersey and walked Volpe on five pitches. He was then back in a competitive mindset, having spent more than a year working hard to stay healthy. He threw all three of his pitches — slider, curveball and fastball — and was consistent in throwing strikes for the remainder of the inning.

“It was like, ‘All right, don’t do that.’ I just kind of went back to like, ‘All right, I’ve got to try to compete,’ get back to not like the preparation mindset,”Glasnow stated. “After that, it just felt way, way, way sharper. So once a guy got on and I quickened up my delivery, it felt really good.”

It was evident. Glasnow struck out Blake Perkins with a nasty curveball in the zone. Then, Ben Rortvedt was caught looking on a high slider. Five pitches later, Josh Breaux hit an outfielder that Franco flipped over to Tristan Gray, first baseman. That was likely Glasnow’s last hitter, anyway, as he was only slated to throw around 20 pitches in his first rehab outing.

“That was the first time I think I’ve actually felt normal, like I’m not trying to feel for things. I just had a guy on, and it got me back into like, ‘All right, I’m competing again,’”Glasnow stated. “That was the first time I’d done that, and that was probably the best I had felt on a mound when the guy got on. So that was good.”

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