Sanders made his MLB debut at the Trop on April 14 against Oakland. He allowed one run in three innings.

Rays Notebook: Shane McClanahan “Cautiously Optimistic” About Shoulder; Bats Have Been Hot

The last thing the Rays needed with only a month remaining in the season was to see their ace scratched from a start right before a game.
Shane McClanahan, Credit: Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The last thing the Rays needed with only a month remaining in the season was to see their ace scratched from a start right before a game.

A pitching staff that has been beset by injuries lost the services of Shane McClanahan while warming up before Tuesday night’s game in Miami. The hope, though, is that a left shoulder impingement proves to be a nothing more than a temporary inconvenience.

While being interviewed following the game, a 7-2 Rays win thanks in large part to Shawn Armstrong (three shutout innings) answering the bell as the emergency starter, McClanahan said “he couldn’t get loose” and “erred on the side of caution” in being scratched from his start.  

“As of right now, ‘cautiously optimistic’ is the right term for it,” said the 25-year-old lefty, who suggested it may have been something as simple as sleeping on his shoulder in a way that could have caused the aggravation. He will be further evaluated Wednesday.

McClanahan is an American League Cy Young Award contender who is 11-5 with a 2.20 ERA that is second in the league. He is also second with a 0.86 WHIP and third with 182 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber is the only Rays’ starter to avoid injury this season.

Pitching in: McClanahan being scratched from Tuesday night’s start was yet another setback for a pitching staff that has dealt with more than its share of setbacks this season. Earlier in the day, righthanded reliever Ryan Thompson was placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to August 27) due to right triceps inflammation.

The Rays have used 32 pitchers, not including position players Brett Phillips, Yu Chang, and Christian Bethancourt, who will likely take the mound at least a couple of more times in September to give the bullpen a breather here and there. Of that total, 23 pitchers have at least one win for the Rays this season. Ten have exactly one win, including Luke Bard, Chris Mazza and Tommy Romero, each no longer with the organization.

Despite all the injuries and player movement in and out of the rotation and the bullpen, the Rays head into Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins with a 3.35 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Both figures are good for third in the American League and fourth in the majors.

Hot bats: Randy Arozarena has driven in 23 runs in August, which is tops in the American League heading into the month’s final night of action. He is hitting .322 (30-for-93) with six homers and nine doubles…..Jose Siri, who showed off his glove, arm, bat and speed Tuesday night against the Marlins, is hitting .315 (18-for-57) with a pair of homers, five doubles and 20 runs scored in his last 17 games….Harold Ramirez has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games, a stretch in which he is batting .316 (19-for-60) with 12 RBI…..In his last 11 games, Yandy Diaz is hitting .375 (15-for-40) with two homers and six doubles. He has driven in seven runs and drawn five walks.

Yankees on deck: The Yankees, who enter Wednesday night’s game in Anaheim with a 10-17 mark in August and with a seven-game lead on the Rays in the AL East, visit Tropicana Field for a three-game weekend series that gets underway Friday night at 7:10. Saturday evening’s game is 6:40 and first pitch Sunday afternoon will be 1:40. The Rays are 5-8 against the Yankees this season.

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