The Twins have placed right-hander Tyler Mahle on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to August 18) due to right shoulder inflammation. Southpaw Devin Smeltzer has been called up to take Mahle’s spot on the active roster.
The IL placement isn’t a big surprise, after Mahle left Wednesday’s game after only 2 1/3 innings, and the Twins already announced that Mahle’s next turn in the rotation would be skipped. On the brighter side, an MRI didn’t reveal any structural damage, and Mahle also told reporters (including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) yesterday that he was feeling better and was able to left weights two days removed from his early exit.
Ideally, Mahle will be able to return when first eligible to be activated off the 15-day IL. Of course, losing the righty for any amount of time is a tough beat for a Minnesota club that is battling for both the AL Central lead or at least a wild card berth. Mahle was supposed to be a big part of this postseason push, acquired from the Reds in a major deal at the trade deadline — thus far, Mahle has a strong 2.51 ERA over his first 14 1/3 innings in a Twins uniform.
Smeltzer could be the likeliest candidate to fill Mahle’s rotation spot, assuming that the Twins pick one single pitcher to cover those starts. The advanced metrics aren’t fans of Smeltzer’s work this season, but the left-hander has managed to outperform those peripherals and post a 4.02 ERA over 12 starts and 62 2/3 frames. If not Smeltzer, the Twins could also turn to Aaron Sanchez or Cole Sands, or possibly a combination of these pitchers in a piggyback situation.