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AL East Notes: Zombro, Choi, Kluber, Blue Jays, Ward

Rays pitching prospect Tyler Zombro was struck in the head by a line drive last night during the eighth inning of Triple-A Durham’s game against Norfolk.  Zombro was taken off the field on a stretcher and taken to hospital, as the game was suspended and then later officially halted.

The Rays released a statement on Zombro’s condition earlier today: “As of this morning, Tyler remains under the care of the nurses and doctors at Duke University Hospital. The updates from overnight have been positive, and he remains in stable condition. We are overwhelmed by the support for Tyler and the wishes for his full and speedy recovery from fans and the baseball community alike. We will provide additional updates as he progresses.”

We at MLBTR add our voices to the chorus of support for Zombro, and we’re hoping for all the best in his recovery.

More from around the AL East…

  • Ji-Man Choi has been battling left groin tightness and might require a trip to the injured list.  Choi missed Thursday’s game with the Yankees due to the issue, and Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that “I don’t think that he necessarily felt that great today” even after Choi received treatment throughout the game.  Arthroscopic knee surgery in March delayed Choi’s season debut until May 16, and he has been making up for lost time with a scorching .304/.448/.522 slash line in his first 58 plate appearances.
  • Corey Kluber’s recovery from a rotator cuff strain is still projected to keep the righty out of action until around the last week of July, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone did provide some positive news in an update with reporters (including Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News).  After receiving second and third opinions from doctors, Kluber is expected to start throwing on flat ground within a few days’ time — his initial diagnosis would have kept him from throwing whatsoever for four weeks.
  • Pitching is the most obvious need for the Blue Jays at the trade deadline, yet Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith suggests that the Jays should also look to add bench help.  As much as the returns of George Springer, Alejandro Kirk, and Cavan Biggio will help matters, adding another bat would guard against any future injuries.  Specifically, a left-handed bat would also balance out a Toronto lineup that leans heavily to the right.
  • Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward recently underwent Tommy John surgery, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.  A fifth-round pick for the Sox in the 2018 draft, Ward posted some impressive numbers in his first two pro seasons before making his Double-A debut this season (posting a 5.63 ERA over eight innings).  Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America ranked Ward as a top-ten prospect in Boston’s farm system, but the right-hander will now be on the shelf for the next 13-15 months, and his entire 2022 could be in jeopardy in the event of a rehab setback.
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