Rays play it safe, place Shane McClanahan on injured list due to back issue

Notebook | After treatment and extra rest between starts don’t work, the team opts to shelve the top starter for at least 15 days.
Thanks to the upcoming All-Star break, Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan could miss just one start if he returns relatively quickly.
Thanks to the upcoming All-Star break, Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan could miss just one start if he returns relatively quickly. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published July 1|Updated July 2

SEATTLE — The Rays decided to take cautious action and a longer-term view in placing top starter Shane McClanahan on the 15-day injured list due to mid-back tightness.

The Rays did so after McClanahan on Friday reported tightness during a second straight abbreviated outing. Given the July 10-13 All-Star break, McClanahan could miss just one start if he returns as planned July 16 at Kansas City. He also will miss what seemed a likely second straight All-Star Game appearance.

Manager Kevin Cash said it was “a pretty easy decision” based on the calendar.

“This is the second time in his last two starts that he’s felt it, so figured we can just take the time to calm it down,” Cash said. “We’re not overly concerned. The only thing we’re concerned or trying to prevent is him altering his delivery to alleviate any type of pain or discomfort that he’s having.”

McClanahan said he agreed with the decision.

“As frustrated as I am, yeah, I think it’s the right move,” he said. “Obviously you never want to go on the IL. But with the fact that I’m only going to miss one start, it’s one of those things where it’s never a good time, but I guess it’s the best possible time. I felt like I could have kept going (Friday). But I guess this is the time to go and get things right. I wasn’t feeling 100%.”

McClanahan said he planned to do as much work as necessary to address the issue.

“Rest, rehab, treatment and hammer out some mechanical stuff that’s maybe contributing to it,” he said. “We’re going to get this ship right.”

Lefty reliever Jalen Beeks was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take McClanahan’s place on the active roster. A starter, or bulk-inning pitcher, will be needed to take McClanahan’s spot in the rotation Thursday against the Phillies, with a call-up of Triple-A right-hander Cooper Criswell a possibility.

McClanahan was taken out of his June 22 start against the Royals in the fourth inning when his fastball velocity dropped noticeably, and he told the team staff his back felt tight. He received extensive treatment and two additional days off before returning to action Friday. He said going into the game that he felt good and was confident the problem was behind him.

Though his velocity was back to the upper 90s, McClanahan, 26, didn’t look comfortable and wasn’t sharp, allowing four runs in a messy second inning. He was taken out after the third, having thrown 66 pitches to get nine outs. The Rays initially said there was no injury issue, but Cash said later that after McClanahan talked with and was examined by head athletic trainer Joe Benge, it was clear the back was a problem.

Beeks had been in the Rays bullpen all season, compiling a 2-3, 5.82 record until being optioned to Durham on June 14. He pitched three times for the Bulls, allowing four runs in four innings.


After going 2-for-4, Yandy Diaz was leading the American League with a .319 average. ... A Josh Lowe foul ball into the press box broke the computer of a Mariners PR staffer. ... Rookie Taj Bradley starts Sunday against Seattle, coming off a rough Tuesday outing in Arizona, where he gave up seven runs (six earned) in lasting only four innings. … Second baseman Brandon Lowe (herniated disc) went 2-for-4, including an RBI double, in the third of four scheduled rehab games for Triple-A Durham. ... In rallying from a 4-0 deficit to a 15-4 win over the Mariners on Friday, the Rays became the only modern-era team, per StatsPerform, to be shut out by four or more through the first three innings, then score 15 or more unanswered runs. … Also, with the Rays sporting a plus-163 run differential and the Rangers at plus-155, this is the first time since 1891 (Boston Reds, St. Louis Browns) that two teams entered July at at least plus-150.

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