The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball the last few weeks, but were delivered bad news Tuesday night. All-Star lefty and Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan did not start as scheduled against Miami Marlins and the team said he has a left shoulder impingement.
He is set to undergo further testing on his shoulder Wednesday, but the Rays have already placed him on the injured list. He will be missing at least a few weeks as a result. The best-case scenario is that he’s ready to rejoin the rotation by the middle of September for the drive to the playoffs.
McClanahan did attempt to warm up prior to Tuesday’s game. The Bally Sports television broadcast showed him flexing his arm, and being consoled by coaches and teammates after deciding to pull the plug.
The Rays have had a difficult time keeping pitchers healthy in recent years. They currently have seven pitchers on the injured list, including starters Yonny Chirinos (Tommy John surgery), Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery), and Shane Baz (elbow sprain). Elbows are generally fixable. Shoulders can be much more troublesome.
Tampa has operated with four starting pitchers in recent weeks — McClanahan, Corey Kluber, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs — while using a variety of openers and spot starters in the fifth spot. Righty Luis Patiño and lefties Josh Fleming and Ryan Yarbrough are the top candidates to move into the rotation should McClanahan miss time.
McClanahan, 25, came into Tuesday with a 2.20 ERA and 182 strikeouts in a career high 147 1/3 innings this season. His previous career high was the 129 innings he threw last year between the regular season and postseason. McClanahan had Tommy John surgery in college but has otherwise been healthy as a pro.
The Rays are 71-57 on the season, but are seven games behind the fading New York Yankees in the AL East. The two clubs open a three-game series at Tropicana Field on Friday.