Rays’ Jeffrey Springs likely going on injured list with knee sprain

Rays notes | The lefty reliever who has played a huge role in the bullpen was hurt in an awkward fall running to field a bunt.
Rays reliever Jeffrey Springs goes down in pain with a knee injury during the seventh inning Saturday against the Red Sox.
Rays reliever Jeffrey Springs goes down in pain with a knee injury during the seventh inning Saturday against the Red Sox. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Aug. 1, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays seem to have lost another reliever to injury.

Jeffrey Springs sustained a right-knee sprain when he fell awkwardly chasing a Rafael Devers bunt down the third-base line during the seventh inning Saturday against the Red Sox. Manager Kevin Cash said Springs is likely to end up on the injured list, pending further medical review and imaging.

Springs went down untouched and without a sudden turn. He immediately grabbed his right knee in what looked to be major distress, though a few minutes later he was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power.

“He felt his knee kind of buckle on the outside,’’ Cash said, “so we’ll probably have more to look at him. Hopefully it’s not too bad of an injury, but it was pretty scary in the moment when you see him go down like that and the pain he was in.

“Then he kind of got up ... gingerly, but it was encouraging at least to see him get up and be able to kind of walk off on his own.’’

Springs, 28, has been the team’s top lefty and one of their key overall bullpen contributors, working in a team-high 43 games with a 5-1, 3.43 record overall.

Springs will be the fifth reliever to be sidelined over the past month and, potentially, the 15th pitcher on the injured list.

Right-hander Collin McHugh (arm fatigue) is the closest of the others to returning, with plans to throw the first of several bullpen sessions on Sunday. Ryan Thompson (shoulder inflammation) played catch and felt good, and J.P. Feyereisen (shoulder discomfort) might be set for light catch, while Pete Fairbanks (shoulder inflammation) remains shutdown.

Cash said there was “no update” on reliever Nick Anderson, whose rehab from a spring elbow injury has been stalled by “COVID-related issues.’’ Starter Chris Archer, out since April with forearm tightness, is set for his fifth rehab appearance, starting Sunday for Triple-A Durham, slated for five innings or 75 pitches.

McClanahan says there’s no pressure

The news that top starter Tyler Glasnow is likely headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery could put more pressure on rookie lefty Shane McClanahan, who seems the closest the Rays have to a front-of-the-rotation replacement.

But McClanahan, who starts Sunday night’s national ESPN game against the Red Sox, doesn’t see it that way for himself, or any of the other Rays.

“I don’t think anything changes,’’ he said. “I mean, everybody is going to come here and do their job. I’m going to go out there and try to put the team in the best position to win, and I know every single other person who gets the ball is going to do the exact same thing. So I don’t really think anyone needs to step up. I think we all just need to keep doing we’re doing.’’

That’s what manager Kevin Cash wants to hear. In part because the Rays, while hoping Glasnow, who was injured in June, could return in September, weren’t counting on his return. And also because he’s confident the Rays have the kind of pitchers who will take advantage of the opportunity.

Want more than just the box score?

Want more than just the box score?

Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will send the latest Rays insights and analysis to keep you updated weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

“The reason we’re confident is those guys are giving us confidence,’' Cash said. “The way they have performed allows us to feel good about where we’re at. Are we better with Tyler Glasnow? Definitely. But we’ve got young guys that have come up and done good things and are getting a wealth of experience leading up to this September crunch of baseball, which we know there’s going to be a lot of teams in the thick of it.’’

McClanahan, the 24-year-old lefty from USF, said pitching the nationally televised game isn’t that big a deal, given he made his big-league in last year’s playoffs and pitched in Game 3 of the World Series.

“Maybe if I didn’t have that postseason experience, to tell you the truth, I don’t know how it would have felt,’’ he said. “But to me, it just feels like another game where you go out there and prepare and put your team in the chance to win, hopefully. Ultimately the Red Sox are a good team, but it could be Wednesday, could be Monday, could be whenever, don’t matter to me. I just want to pitch.’’


• Saturday’s crowd of 20,521 was a season high, surpassing the 16,699 on June 26 against the Angels.

• Outfielder Jordan Luplow and pitcher DJ Johnson, acquired Friday from Cleveland, were assigned to Triple-A Durham. Luplow, who was set to be activated Friday by the Indians after a lengthy stay on the injured list, will get some work, and maybe some time, at first and third base to expand ways to get his right-handed bat into the lineup.

• The Rays are playing in an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game for the first time since 2014, and the first at home since 2011. The crew of Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez and Buster Olney will broadcast from the Trop.

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.