App State alum MLB season cut short by injury


Courtesy of App State Athletics

Former App State pitcher Jeffrey Springs signed a $31 million dollar contract extension with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher and former Mountaineer Jeffrey Springs is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery, sidelining him into the 2024 season, according to Tampa Bay Times reporter Marc Topkin on Tuesday.  

Springs suffered the injury on the mound April 13 against the Boston Red Sox. He was removed from the game in the fourth inning after throwing a pitch and immediately looked down at his throwing arm, squeezing his hand. 

Rays manager Kevin Cash took him out of the game for precautionary reasons and for his pitcher to be tested. The Rays announced Springs had been diagnosed with a left elbow flexor strain Tuesday. With the expectation of Tommy John surgery, the recovery is 12-15 months. 

The former Mountaineer pitched in Boone from 2012-15 before being drafted in 2015.

Springs signed a contract with Tampa Bay in the offseason to be a Ray until 2027. 

Throughout his MLB career, Springs has been a relief pitcher and made the change to being a full-time starter for the 2023 season. Along with the position change, he’s added multiple breaking balls, including a slider, to his pitch selection with the help of Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder.

“When I came over in 2021, it was, ‘throw your slider more,’” Springs said. “Snyder helped turn my career around.”

Since arriving in Tampa Bay, Springs has improved his ERA each season, with 3.43 in 2021 and 2.46 in 2022. 

During opening weekend, Springs started the season with a six-inning no-hitter, 12-strikeout performance to give the Rays a 5-1 victory against the Detroit Tigers April 2. He followed up his shutout with a seven-inning, seven-strikeout game in an 11-0 victory facing the Oakland Athletics April 8. 

Before his elbow injury, Springs was building an early case for the Cy Young award with 24 strikeouts in 16 innings to begin the season. With his 2023 season cut short, Springs will see the mound again in the 2024 season.