OAKLAND, Calif. — The timing of the move is interesting to say the least — given Diego Castillo never showed any sign of arm fatigue other than his inability to throw strikes — but the Rays on Sunday placed their struggling reliever on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation.
The move came one day after Castillo gave up two seventh-inning runs in a tied game, struggling to throw strikes, in a 4-2 loss to the A's. In his previous outing Thursday, Castillo blew a three-run lead in the ninth, allowing a three-run walkoff homer to Matt Chapman in a 5-4 loss.
Castillo flew back to Tampa Bay Sunday, where he will be re-examined by team physician Dr. Koco Eaton.
"Hopefully we get some good news and some rest will maybe get some inflammation out of there and he'll be good to go," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Castillo worked three times in four days, the most he's pitched in a month that's seen an uneven workload. His fastball velocity has been down a tick in his last three outings, though he did hit 100 mph on three of his last four pitches on Saturday night. Before that stretch, Castillo pitched just three times in 18 days.
Cash said the discomfort appeared suddenly in Saturday's outing.
"It's not something that he's been dealing with," Cash said. "It just kind of crept up yesterday. But he's so important to us. We've got to get him right. He wasn't going to pitch. When you say your arm's bothering you, that your shoulder's bothering you, we're going to shut you down for a little bit."
Up until Saturday, the Rays were convinced Castillo's issues -- he has a 9.58 ERA over his last 11 outings, including more walks (9) than strikeouts (7) -- were more rooted in confidence and mechanics.
"You've got to balance these guys are humans, they're not robots," pitching coach Kyle Snyder said. "I feel really confident about where he is. I understand these guys deal with adversity and different types of adversity as they play this game. There's different hurdles they have to go through."
With Castillo sidelined and right-hander Jose Alvarado still working his was back into game form while on the restricted list, the Rays bullpen is without its top two power bullpen arms. Right-hander Emilio Pagan, who recorded the save in Friday’s win in Oakland, would appear to receive more opportunities, but he’s also been a valuable middle-inning bridge in close games.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.