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Rays SP Jeffrey Springs leaves start vs. Red Sox due to injury

We’ve got all the latest on the Tampa Bay ace, who was forced to exit with what seemed to be a hand/forearm injury.

Jeffrey Springs of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with Francisco Mejia on the mound during the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field on April 08, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

A dream start to the 2023 MLB season for the Tampa Bay Rays may have just hit its first speed bump. Jeffrey Springs, the team’s best starter so far this year, was forced to leave Thursday’s game against the Boston Red Sox in the top of the fourth inning. He appeared to be opening and closing his hand and didn’t respond well to warm-up tosses.

Per a team announcement, Springs left the game with “left arm ulnar neuritis” — inflammation of the ulnar nerve that can cause numbness or weakness in the hand.

There’s not yet a timetable for his return.

A 30th-round pick out of Appalachian State in the 2015 MLB Draft, Springs was an anonymous reliever when the Rays traded for him back in February of 2021. He was solid out of the bullpen that season, but when the team moved him into the starting rotation in 2022 he was a revelation — posting a 2.46 ERA with 144 strikeouts over 135.1 innings on the back of one of the best changeups in baseball.

He looked even better to start 2023, throwing six no-hit innings against the Detroit Tigers in his first start and backing that up with seven shutout frames against the Oakland Athletics last weekend. His loss would be a huge one for a Rays team that’s already down Tyler Glasnow and Zach Eflin from its planned starting rotation. Top prospect Taj Bradley — who just started against Boston on Wednesday while filling in for Eflin — would likely be recalled from Triple-A should Springs be forced to miss any time.