The Rays announced Monday that they’ve reinstated right-hander Chris Mazza from the 60-day injured list and designated him for assignment. Mazza, who’s been sidelined since mid-April due to back spasms, saw his 20-day minor league rehab window run out and the Rays apparently didn’t see enough to bring him back to the big league roster. He’s out of minor league options, the team couldn’t simply send him down and had to designate him for assignment. Tampa Bay will now have a week to trade Mazza, attempt to pass him through outright waivers, or release him.
Mazza, 32, has seen big league time in each of the past four seasons, pitching to a combined 5.35 ERA in 79 innings with the Mets, Red Sox and Rays. He tossed 27 1/3 innings of 4.61 ERA ball for the Rays in 2021 but was torched for 10 runs (seven earned) in 5 1/3 innings this year before landing on the injured list.
Though he’s never missed bats at a high level (career 18.5% strikeout rate) and has a slightly worse-than-average career walk rate (9.2%), Mazza has also thrived when it comes to inducing feeble contact. That was particularly true with the 2021 Rays, when he allowed just an 85.5 mph average exit velocity and saw only 29.7% of batted balls against him clock in at 95 mph or more. Those trends went in the wrong direction this season, however, and Mazza’s rehab work in Durham clearly didn’t inspire enough confidence in his ability to right the ship. In 13 innings of Triple-A work, he yielded nine runs (seven earned) on 16 hits and six walks with 18 strikeouts.