Smyly to make first rehab start with Port Charlotte

Cash expects lefty will need 4 outings to build up arm from shoulder tendinitis

Smyly to make first rehab start with Port Charlotte

ST. PETERSBURG -- The news of Burch Smith's upcoming Tommy John surgery was dispiriting to the Rays on Monday, but the reports continued to be encouraging regarding other pitchers who are starting the season with health issues.

Drew Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) will make his first rehab start on Thursday in Port Charlotte starting the Class A Advanced Stone Crabs' season opener at Charlotte Sports Park.

Heading into Spring Training, Smyly was slated to be the Rays' No. 3 starter. However, after the tendinitis was diagnosed, the start of his season got pushed back accordingly.

On Saturday, the left-hander pitched a live batting practice.

"Felt really good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Smyly's session.

Smyly will throw two innings on Thursday.

Cash allowed that he's not exactly sure at this point how many starts Smyly will need to make before returning to the Rays.

"He'll get totally stretched out like Spring Training," Cash said. "Four [starts], that's what I would anticipate.

"If he can help us with a 75-pitch count, great. If it takes 105, that's great, too. There will be a lot of discussion as he builds up here."

Meanwhile, Alex Colome (pneumonia) and Jake McGee (elbow surgery) will each throw a live batting practice session on Thursday in Port Charlotte. McGee said he will then throw another live batting practice on either Sunday or next Monday before beginning a rehab assignment.

Bill Chastain is a reporter to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.