6:40pm: Tampa Bay has officially placed McClanahan on the IL, Topkin tweets. The club said they are “in the process of gathering further information” and will provide updates when they become available.
6:13pm: The Rays plan to place Shane McClanahan on the 15-day injured list, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The two-time All-Star felt some soreness on the outside of his forearm during yesterday’s start against the Yankees.
Tampa Bay sent McClanahan for imaging this morning. Topkin that the Rays still don’t have a set diagnosis from initial testing. The 6’1″ left-hander is slated for further evaluation in the coming days but will need at least two weeks on the shelf.
Until there’s more clarity on the issue, the overall timetable remains unknown. Yet even a best-case scenario for the Rays sees them lose arguably their best pitcher for a couple weeks while they battle for a division title. Tampa Bay has gone 26-27 since the start of June, a couple months of average play after their league-best performance through May. As a result, they’ve dropped two games back of the Orioles in the AL East.
They’re still in great shape to secure a playoff spot. The Rays sit three games clear of the second-best Wild Card team and 7.5 up on the top non-playoff club. They’ll need to track down Baltimore to snag a first-round bye, though, and any extended absence from McClanahan would only make that more challenging.
The 26-year-old was on a Cy Young pace last year before a late-season shoulder impingement knocked him to sixth in the voting. He hasn’t been quite as good this season but remains one of the top pitchers in the sport. Through 115 innings, McClanahan carries a 3.29 ERA with a strong 25.8% strikeout rate. He missed a couple weeks earlier in the season with back tightness but returned not long after a minimal stay on the shelf.
Pitching injuries have been an all too familiar occurrence for Tampa Bay this year. The Rays were without Tyler Glasnow early and lost Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen to season-ending surgeries midway through the season. They dealt top first base prospect Kyle Manzardo to Cleveland for Aaron Civale to fortify the starting staff. That acquisition could take on even more importance if McClanahan misses a notable chunk of time. Tampa Bay optioned rookie Taj Bradley to Triple-A after acquiring Civale; he’d seem the likeliest candidate for a recall to take McClanahan’s active roster spot.