The Rays have placed right-hander Andrew Kittredge on the 45-day injured list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, per a club announcement. They’ve selected the contract of righty Aaron Slegers to replace him on the roster.
It’s another blow to a Tampa Bay bullpen that has already lost southpaw Colin Poche to Tommy John surgery. There’s no definitive word yet that Kittredge will face the same fate, but a sprain, by nature, indicates stretching/tearing of the ligament tissue. At the very least, it’s a season-ending injury for the 30-year-old right-hander.
Kittredge had started the season well, holding opponents to a pair of runs on eight hits and two walks in eight innings of relief. Dating back to Opening Day 2019, Kittredge has given the Rays 57 2/3 frames of 3.90 ERA ball with an even better 3.48 FIP. That said, there were some red flags in 2020. After averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine frames last year, Kittredge managed just three whiffs in his eight innings. His average heater had dropped from 95 mph to 94 mph, and Kittredge’s seven percent swinging-strike rate was less than half last year’s mark of 15.9 percent.
The 27-year-old Slegers has pitched 32 big league innings between the Twins and Rays, working to a combined 5.63 ERA with a sub-par 15-to-8 K/BB ratio from 2017-19. But the towering 6’10” righty had some strong Triple-A seasons with Minnesota and has a generally strong minor league track record. His history as a starting pitcher should allow him to fill a multi-inning bullpen role for the Rays.