5:58PM: Ray’s MRI didn’t indicate any serious damage, the southpaw told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
3:14PM: The Diamondbacks have placed left-hander Robbie Ray on the 10-day injured list due to a lower back spasm, the team announced. Right-handers Jon Duplantier and Stefan Crichton have been called up from Triple-A to take the roster spots of Ray and Tim Locastro, who was optioned to Triple-A yesterday.
Back spasms forced Ray out of last night’s start after just two innings, and the southpaw was scheduled to undergo an MRI today. Obviously the D’Backs were concerned enough to send Ray to the IL, though Ray could end up missing a minimal amount of time, depending on the severity of the spasms. Needless to say, Arizona would love to have Ray healthy and contributing again as soon as possible, given how the D’Backs are fighting to stay in the postseason race (3.5 games out of an NL wild card position entering today’s play).
Since Zack Greinke was dealt to the Astros at the trade deadline, Ray has become the de facto ace of Arizona’s rotation, with his 3.99 ERA, 2.97 K/BB rate, and 11.9 K/9 over 142 innings this season. ERA predictors (4.09 FIP, 3.71 xFIP, 3.97 SIERA) and a .311 xwOBA that almost exactly matches his .314 wOBA back up those solid-if-unspectacular numbers. Ray himself received a lot of trade attention at the deadline, and it’s possible the D’Backs could again look at moving him this offseason, as 2020 is his final year of team control before free agency.
With Ray out, the Diamondbacks have Merrill Kelly, Mike Leake, Alex Young, and Zac Gallen remaining in the rotation. Duplantier made three starts earlier this season and is the likeliest candidate to fill in while Ray is out, plus Taylor Clarke is at Triple-A and the club could also explore using an opener. Luke Weaver and Taijuan Walker are expected back from the IL at some point, though it isn’t certain if they’ll make it back to the active roster (or be used as starters) before Ray is able to return.