Other than Opening Day approaching, it’s been nothing but a flood of bad news coming toward the Rays in the days leading up to the start of the 2021 season.
Not even a week ago, the organization learned that relief pitcher Nick Anderson, one of the best relievers in the game over the past two years, would be sidelined until at least the end of July with injury.
Now, first baseman Ji-man Choi is going on the IL for roughly 3-5 weeks as manager Kevin Cash said on Tuesday that he will be receiving arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday.
It was anticipated that Choi would miss some time to start the season as he dealt with injury during Spring Training and has been sidelined from baseball activity since mid-March.
Choi had reported soreness in the knee and received a cortisone shot on March 13, and despite saying he felt better, the soreness returned and now, he’ll be likely out until May.
In his place, the Rays will have several players play, most notably Yoshi Tsutsugo, a sight many fans are eager to see in a starting role.
Tsutsugo didn’t have an incredible start to his MLB career, hitting .197 with a .708 OPS in the shortened 2020 season. However, eight home runs and 14 extra base hits in total were extremely promising.
Expect to see a combination of him, Yandy Diaz and possibly Brandon Lowe or Mike Brosseau to play at first base to start this season.