Drew Smyly tests shoulder by throwing live batting practice

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Rays left-hander Drew Smyly is set to begin the season on the disabled list, but he’s making encouraging progress from shoulder inflammation.

According to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, Smyly threw live batting practice today and said that it went well. He believes the next step could be his first minor league rehab start. The expectation is that he’ll be back sometime in April.

Smyly finished strong after coming over to the Rays in the David Price deal last July, posting a 1.70 ERA and 44/11 K/BB ratio in 47 2/3 innings over seven starts. Getting him and Alex Cobb back will be critical to the Rays’ hopes of competing in the AL East this season.