The Rays have placed Jeffrey Springs on the IL with a knee sprain, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin also says Springs is relieved that it’s just a sprain and not something involving structural damage. Springs gives his own recovery timeline as 2-4 weeks. Acquired in an offseason deal with the Red Sox, the lefty has become a key contributor in the Rays’ bullpen this year, throwing 44 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.43 with an excellent strikeout rate of 35.2%, though his walk rate is a tad high at 7.8%. Getting him back within that injury timeline will allow him to rejoin the club for what figures to be a tight pennant race. The Rays are now sitting atop the AL East, but just half a game ahead of the Red Sox, whom they are hosting tonight.
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- Taking Springs’ spot on the active roster is DJ Johnson. He was sent over to Tampa from Cleveland alongside Jordan Luplow in the hours before Friday’s trade deadline. Johnson has a small and scattered major league track record, throwing 33 innings since debuting in 2018. But in 21 2/3 Triple-A innings this year, his strikeout rate is 34%, but with an inflated walk rate of 10.7%, with an ERA of 3.32. If he can duplicate those numbers at the big league level, that could almost match Springs’ production.
- Topkin also provides an update on Collin McHugh, who was placed on the IL July 25th with arm fatigue. McHugh’s recent bullpen session went well and he hopes to be back as soon as Friday. McHugh was been a superb multi-inning contributor for the Rays this year. Over 23 games, he’s pitched 41 2/3 innings, with a miniscule 1.51 ERA, along with excellent strikeout and walk rates of 36.6% and 5%.
- Topkin also has some unfortunate news about Chris Archer. The righty has been rehabbing and trying to build up to a starter’s workload but suffered a setback today. Instead of the planned 75 pitches, he was removed after just 31 because of “left hip soreness.” Archer signed a deal this offseason to return to Tampa but has only been healthy enough to throw 4 1/3 innings at the big league level thus far.