MIAMI — Shane McClanahan woke up anxious Wednesday morning.
For all he had said Tuesday night about being optimistic the shoulder discomfort that led to him being scratched from his start wasn’t anything more serious than the initially diagnosed impingement, he knew the MRI exam would provide the true answer.
When he got word later Wednesday that the diagnosis was confirmed, McClanahan felt something else.
“This could have gone a lot of different ways,” he said. “And for it to be what it is, it’s a sigh of relief.”
Manager Kevin Cash called it the “best-case scenario,” with the Rays hoping to have their ace left-hander back on the mound in about two weeks.
McClanahan will receive a cortisone injection on Thursday, rest for a few days and then resume throwing. He is eligible to return from the 15-day injured list on Sept. 15.
“Don’t envision him being out that long,” Cash said. “I don’t want to compare the two, but when we’ve had this (issue) in the past, I think Blake (Snell) missed about 15 days right around the All-Star break (in 2018). And that’s kind of what we’re envisioning with Shane, as long as he responds like we anticipate.”
Still, the Rays will head into September without two of their most impactful players, as second baseman Brandon Lowe also was placed on the injured list. Infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan and reliever Calvin Faucher were called up from Triple-A Durham.
Lowe hasn’t played since being hit by a pitch on his right elbow Friday and clearly wasn’t feeling good enough to get back on the field. His injured-list move is retroactive to Sunday, so he is eligible to return on Sept. 7.
“He’s making progress, it’s just the pace of that progress isn’t quite to where he was going to be available Friday (or) Saturday,” Cash said, noting Lowe is also having issues with the triceps and a nerve. “Let’s see where where we go from there.”
Lowe, who missed two months earlier this season with a back injury, said he and the athletic training staff have done everything they can to try to speed the healing.
“Obviously, the last place I want to be is back on the (injured list),” he said. “Certain activities still hurt, and I’m barely doing the activity. So, I’m hoping it’s a minimum stay.”
Also, Tyler Glasnow on Thursday (with Durham in Charlotte) is slated to throw what may be his last live batting practice before starting rehab games.
Brujan, who struggled in earlier stints with the Rays, was hitting .301 with an .847 OPS at Durham. Faucher, who also had a rough time earlier this year in his first major-league action, was is 3-3, 3.73 at Triple-A.
The Rays announced a 2023 spring training schedule with 14 games in Port Charlotte, including visits by the Braves, Mets, Yankees and Red Sox, plus a home exhibition with one of the World Baseball Classic teams yet to be named. The Rays will open the spring slate Feb. 25 against the Twins in Fort Myers and finish it March 27 against the Yankees in Tampa. The Rays also will make a rare spring road trip, spending a night on the East Coast playing the Marlins March 11 in Jupiter and the Mets March 12 in Port St. Lucie.
Rosters expand from 26 to 28 starting Thursday, so expect the Rays to add a position player and a pitcher before they resume play Friday against the Yankees.
With Roman Quinn’s return from a knee injury delayed by a shoulder issue and Brujan already called up, position-player options on the 40-man roster include Durham catcher Rene Pinto, infielder Jonathan Aranda, and outfielders Josh Lowe and Luke Raley. Whoever is added could be temporary until Wander Franco and Lowe return.
Rostered pitching options are somewhat limited besides Luis Patino, who worked 5-2/3 innings for Durham Wednesday and could be summoned Monday when the Rays have an open rotation spot. Josh Fleming and Nick Anderson are active but still working back from injury. A non-roster pitcher could be added, as a spot will open with Brendan McKay expected to go back on the 60-day injured list after sustaining a left elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery.
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Also, postseason eligibility was set at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday; players on the 40-man roster and injured list are eligible; others in the organization as of then can be injury replacements.
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