Jeremy Hellickson had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and will be out until mid- to late May, Baseball America contributor Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Hellickson, 26, had what Topkin reported was considered a minor procedure.
Still, the Rays will need a fifth starter for the first six-to-eight weeks of the season, and Topkin reported, they will likely turn to Jake Odorizzi, their No. 1 prospect.
Odorizzi, who will turn 24 in March, was acquired from the Royals as part of the deal that sent James Shields to Kansas City for Wil Myers. Odorizzi, a righthander, spent most of 2013 at Triple-A Durham and ranked third in the International League in strikeouts and WHIP.
He features a low-90s fastball that he showed improved command of in 2013, and he has three average-to-above secondary pitches. Based on the adjustments he made in 2013, including adding deception to his changeup, Odorizzi could be a strong mid-rotation starter.
Because of Hellickson's injury, he'll get that chance likely sooner than expected.