Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell making first rehab start

Jun 19, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) reacts after a play during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays could soon get back an important piece as they compete with the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics for a wild card spot.

Out since July 21 after undergoing surgery on his left elbow, reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell is slated to make his first rehab start for Double-A Durham on Saturday.

Snell has been targeting a mid-September return from the injury. This piece of information puts him on a timeline to return shortly after that.

The 26-year-old lefty has pitched to a 6-7 record with a 4.28 ERA and 1.25 WHIP thus far this season. Those struggles had a lot to do with the above-mentioned elbow injury.

Snell is coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him post a 21-5 record with an AL-best 1.89 ERA and 0.97 WHIP en route to earning the Cy Young award.

Tampa Bay enters Thursday’s action with an 82-59 record and at the top wild card spot in the AL. Though, it’s just a half game ahead of both Cleveland and Oakland.