10:48 am: Both Anderson and manager Kevin Cash downplayed the severity of the injury this morning (via Topkin). The hurler says he’s 99.0% certain it isn’t major, while Cash said initial evaluations were “very encouraging,” so the club doesn’t anticipate a long-term absence.
9:45 am: Elite Rays reliever Nick Anderson is headed to the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his right (throwing) forearm, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com (Twitter link). Fellow reliever Edgar García, acquired this week from the Phillies, has been recalled to replace Anderson on the active roster, adds Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Anderson’s IL placement is retroactive to August 20.
The late-blooming Anderson may not be a household name, but he’s emerged as one of the sport’s top late-inning arms over the past two years. As a 29-year-old rookie, he shined with the Marlins, prompting the Rays to send top prospect Jesús Sánchez and reliever Ryne Stanek to Miami for Anderson and right-hander Trevor Richards. Since the trade, he’s doubled down on that initial success.
Now 30, Anderson is off to one of the best starts to this season among relievers. In 9.1 scoreless innings across eleven games, he’s struck out fifteen against just one walk. That lowered his career ERA to 2.91 in 74.1 innings, with a sparkling 2.09 FIP backing up that stout run prevention.
Needless to say, an extended absence for their top reliever would be a big blow to a Rays’ staff that just lost starting pitcher Yonny Chirinos to Tommy John surgery. Forearm injuries can sometimes portend elbow surgery for pitchers, but there’s no indication a surgical procedure is under consideration in Anderson’s case. Tampa has not provided a timetable for his return.