The Tampa Bay Rays pitching is again beginning to resemble a mash unit, but help could be arriving soon.
There was some good news on Monday: relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks was activated off the DL.
We are just a quarter of the way through the season, and Ray’s pitching staff is starting to fall apart.
Rays Currently Have Seven Pitchers On The IL
The Ray’s best pitcher starter Tyler Glasnow has yet to throw a pitch this season. He is rehabbing at Durham but was pulled from a game last week due-to discomfort in his side.
Drew Rasmussen is on the IL with a flexor strain in his elbow. Rasmussen, who has had two Tommy John surgeries in his career, will be sidelined until at least August. Rasmussen will miss the rest of this season and part of 2024 if surgery is needed.
Jeffrey Springs is already out for the season and awaiting Tommy John Surgery.
There was some good news on the Tyler Glasnow injury. After an examination with his doctors, it was determined that Glasnow did not suffer a setback in his rehab and will make his next scheduled rehab start on Thursday for AAA Durham.
The projected time frame for Glasnow to join the Rays rotation is now late May or the first of June.
Baz, Kittredge, And Cleavinger Are Out For The Season
Shane Baz continues to recover from Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the 2023 season. Baz went on the IL in July of 2022.
Andrew Kittredge is also recovering from Tommy John surgery and will miss most of the 2023 season.
Garrett Cleavinger, in a somewhat freak injury, will need to have his ACL repaired and is likely out for the rest of this season.
Cleavinger caught New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks in a rundown. While running toward Hicks, something happened that caused Cleavinger to contort his body to avoid contact resulting in the ACL injury.
Shawn Armstrong is currently also on the IL. Armstrong has not pitched this season as he recovers from a neck injury but could be activated later this month.
So the bad karma continues for the pitching staff.
What began as a promising rotation of Glasnow, McClanahan, Rasmussen, Eflin, and Springs has been reduced to Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin.
The Rays are back to using the opener strategy, which they have had much success with.
The Rays use a relief pitcher to pitch the first inning or two and then turn it over to a long relief man.
Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos, and Josh Fleming have come on to pitch for the Rays in that long relief role.
It’s Time To Make Taj Bradley A Part Of The Rotation
It’s time for the Rays to consider calling up pitcher Taj Bradley and making him a permanent part of the Rays rotation.
Bradley made three starts earlier this season, going 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA with just two walks against 23 strikeouts.
Bradley has struggled at Durham this season, going 1-3 with an 11.25 ERA, nine walks, and 13 strikeouts.
He was sent back down to Durham to get used to pitching on a five-day schedule, which is standard in the big leagues.
If the Rays ever decide to get Bradley back to the big leagues, the rotation in June could consist of Glasnow, McClanahan, Eflin, and Bradley, plus an opener.
Rays Still Have The Best Record In Baseball
The Rays will open up a three series at Citi Field on Tuesday night as they wrap up a ten-game road trip. The Rays are 3-4 so far on the road trip.
The Rays will then return home to open a ten-game home stand against Milwaukee, followed by visits from the Blue Jays and the Dodgers.
The Rays still have the best record in baseball at 31–11 and have a four-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.