Pitching concerns: Niemann and Davis sent home to see doctor
UPDATE, 12:05: Both Niemann and Davis have soreness in the back of their shoulder - technically, "posterior shoulder soreness,'' Maddon said. Niemann first felt it on Wednesday, the day after his last start, and grew concerned as it lingered. Davis pitched Thursday without his typical velocity, but he and the Rays said afterward, and Maddon said again Friday, that he was fine. But he too felt lingering soreness, so the Rays want a better sense of the situation and will have them see Eaton on Monday.
"We don't think either one is a long-term situation of any kind but we want to make sure before we put them back out there,'' Maddon said. "We'll just know more after they're both examined tomorrow; then we'll be able to make more definitive plans.''
Davis is scheduled to start Tuesday, so RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who made a dazzling major-league debut on Monday before being sent back down, will be held out of action at Triple-A Durham so he is available if needed. (And he would be eligible to be called back up again if the Rays put a pitcher on the DL.) The Rays have an off-day on Thursday, so they could get by shorthanded for a while.
Obviously have two of their five starters experiencing shoulder soreness, and in the middle of a pennant race, is a major concern. "Sure, there is always concern with that - these are two really valuable people and players for us ,'' Maddon said. "It's almost the same thing with both of them. They just need to be looked at, and we all need to know that we're not going to hurt them by pitching.''.
On Niemann, Maddon said: "It's really a precautionary thing. We do believe he's going to make his next start after being skipped this one time, but we want to make sure that it's nothing serious. ... Jeff keeps telling me, "I feel better, I feel better, I feel better,' but then it just doesn't want to quite get over the hump so we want to make sure.''
On Davis, Maddon said: "A couple days after (the Thursday game) he finally said, "I'm sore." Okay, well then if you're sore we've got to do something about it, because the last thing you ever want to do is hurt young players.''
DEVELOPING: Rays pitching concerns - Niemann AND Davis sent home w/shoulder soreness to see Dr. Eaton. Maddon says it's precautionary. Rays hopeful Davis (Tuesday) + Niemann (Sat.) can make next starts, but Hellickson will be held back at Durham just in case.