The Rays announced Wednesday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Dusten Knight from Triple-A Durham and opened a spot on the 40-man roster for the by transferring righty Luis Patino from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Patino is currently out with a strained left oblique, and he’ll now be ineligible to return until early or mid-June. Tampa Bay also optioned Ralph Garza Jr. to Durham to open a spot on the active roster for Knight.
The loss of Patino for upwards of two months is particularly notable for the Rays, who had hoped that the former top prospect could hold down a critical rotation job in 2022. Acquired in the trade that sent Blake Snell to San Diego, Patino worked to a 4.31 ERA in 77 1/3 frames. Still just 22 years of age, Patino ranked as highly as the game’s No. 18 prospect (per Baseball America) back in 2020, and it was hard to argue that based on his dominant minor league performance. Patino graduated to the Majors at just 20 years of age but nevertheless climbed as high as Double-A and, in 263 1/3 minor league frames, has a 2.43 ERA with a 29.9% strikeout rate.
With Patino sidelined, Shane Baz still recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery, and Ryan Yarbrough on the shelf owing to a groin injury, the Rays’ rotation doesn’t look quite like they drew it up. Shane McClanahan, Corey Kluber and Drew Rasmussen are locked into spots, but the Rays could now lean on prospect Tommy Romero and lefty Josh Fleming more than anticipated — at least for the time being. Tampa Bay, of course, has a deep farm and a knack for developing out-of-the-blue success stories on the mound, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they’re able to weather the early storm of injuries.
Knight, 31, made his big league debut with the Orioles this past season after spending parts of eight seasons in the minors. A former 28th-round pick by the Giants (2013), Knight parlayed a strong Triple-A showing — 1.30 ERA, 27-to-12 K/BB ratio in 27 2/3 frames at the time of his promotion — into his first call to the big leagues. Things didn’t go as smoothly in Baltimore, however, as Knight yielded a pair of runs in one inning during his debut effort. He appeared in a total of seven games and was ultimately tagged for 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts through 8 2/3 frames.
Rocky showing in his debut season notwithstanding, Knight has a solid track record in Triple-A, where he’s posted a 3.11 ERA with a 23% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate in parts of three seasons — a total of 104 1/3 innings. On the whole, in Knight’s eight minor league seasons, he’s surrendered just 32 home runs in 397 innings of work while whiffing more than 27% of his opponents against an 8.5% walk rate.