Injury sidelines Rays' Niemann; Gomes recalled
Jeff Niemann said all spring his shoulder felt fine and the Rays said all spring they weren't concerned that his velocity was down a few mphs.
But Friday the Rays put Niemann on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness and recalled RHP Brandon Gomes.
Niemann said he'd been "fighting" it all spring, but it had made progress until the last few days, when he amped up his physical activity trying to stay ready for bullpen duty. He said it would have happened even if he was still a starter, that it "went south faster than I thought it could of," describing it as pain and "overall achiness," similar to how he felt last September when he was shut down.
Niemann is scheduled to see doctors tonight and is not sure how long he'll be out, but knew he wasn't ready to pitch.
"When you're sitting down there and you're hoping the phone rings and it's not for you because you don't know if you can go throw a baseball, I mean that's clear as it got for me," Niemann said. "So when we were there (Thursday), it just got to that point."
Gomes had a great spring, but the Rays didn't have room for him when they chose Roberto Hernandez for the last spot in the rotation and said Niemann would be used in long relief, and also that he could use the time to continue to build arm strength.
But with the bullpen posting a 10.13 ERA through the first three games, the Rays decided Niemann would be better off on the DL and Gomes, who was at Triple-A, would be of more help here.
Gomes always expected to be back, but never thought it'd be so soon, getting the call Thursday night at dinner in Norfolk, Va. He was "extremely happy," saying he doesn't see any reason why he can't carry over the same type of success from spring.
As for his short stay with Triple-A Durham?
"I can still ride a bus," he said with a smile. "It's like we never left."