Shane McClanahan went on the injured list on July 1 with what the Rays said was mid-back tightness. He was activated on July 17 when he started at Texas and looked very much like the pitcher he was before landing on the IL.
The lefty, who did not receive a decision in a 3-2 loss, allowed only three hits, two runs — both on an Ezequiel Duran homer in the sixth — and did not issue a walk in six innings. He fanned six.
In three starts since his outing in Arlington, McClanahan totaled only 13 innings, allowed 13 earned runs and lost his only decision. He lasted only four innings in two of the starts, including Wednesday’s loss to the Yankees when he threw 82 pitches. He threw 86 in his other four-inning outing.
Following the loss to the Yankees, it was learned McClanhan felt tightness on the outside of his left forearm. He was placed on the 15-day IL on Thursday.
Forearm tightness is the last thing a pitcher wants to deal with. While the injury is hopefully nothing more than a nagging issue that can be resolved with rest, forearm tightness is often a red flag signaling structural damage in the elbow. That would mean Tommy John surgery, or another surgical procedure, would be likely.
Jeffrey Springs, off to a fantastic start this season, was diagnosed with forearm tightness following a mid-April start and underwent Tommy John surgery.
Even if McClanahan avoids the worst, his absence once again is yet another blow to the rotation. In addition to Springs, Drew Rasmussen went down in mid-May with an elbow injury. While it was hoped the righthander would return this month or next, he ultimately had surgery (not Tommy John) and was lost for the season.
Let us not forget the Rays opened the season without the services of Tyler Glasnow, who strained his left oblique at the end of spring training and did not take mound until late May.
Needless to say, but worthy of mentioning, the acquisition of Aaron Civale at the trade deadline and getting reliever-turned-starter Zack Littell stretched out to the point he had a five-inning start in Houston last weekend are developments that are now huge as far as the rotation.
Motown weekend: The Rays (66-45) complete their nine-game trip with a three-game weekend series in Detroit. They enter Friday night’s encounter with the Tigers two games behind Baltimore in the American League East. Littell, Civale and Glasnow, respectively, will start for the Rays. Detroit (48-60) is in third place and seven games behind the Twins in the American League Central….The Rays’ No. 3 prospect, infielder Curtis Mead, will reportedly be in Detroit to take McClanahan’s spot on the roster. The Aussie missed nearly two months of the season due to a left wrist injury.
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