C.J. Riefenhauser was the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen.

C.J. Riefenhauser was the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen.

The Rays today announced that reliever CJ Riefenhauser has been placed on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. Mikie Mahtook has been called up to take his place on the roster.

Once we get over the shock of seeing 12 (12!) players on the DL less than three weeks into the season, it turns out that this injury causes a huge problem in the bullpen.

The Rays now have no lefty relievers.

Riefenhauser was the only lefty in the ‘pen. To make matters worse, the only healthy pitcher in the minors that is on the 40-man roster is Kirby Yates and he is a righty. Enny Romero and Grayson Garvin, both lefties, are on the disabled lists of triple-A and double-A respectively.

In fact, when Drew Smyly returns on Friday, he will be the only left-handed pitcher on the 40-man roster who is not injured.

So the Rays are going to have to add somebody to the 40-man roster, whether it is a minor leaguer already in the system, or a player from outside either via free agency or trade. But in order to do that, somebody is going to have to be designated for assignment.

The only way the Rays will be able to avoid cutting a player is by either sticking with an all-right handed bullpen or moving somebody on the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL where players don’t count towards the 40-man roster. However, a review of the nine players currently on the 15-day DL doesn’t reveal any obvious candidates for the 60-day DL unless it turns out Riefenhauser’s injury needs surgery.

Injuries are often just bad luck. But at this point, the Rays have so many that they are now causing problems outside of just losing another player.



  1. Matt says:

    I imagine the rays will hold out for the weekend, and when Loney returns, Dkystra will be designated for assignment. This would clear up a roster spot, probably for jordan norberto. He pitched pretty well this spring, and he's a lefty

  2. Gus says:

    If ever 2 teams needed to trade with each other, it is Colorado (no pitching) and the punchless Rays.Wilin Rosario is furious for being sent to AAA; he would be the DH the Rays have never had; package Rosario and LH Rex Brothers (Weis doghouse) for some Rays arms (say ground ball Gomes and some AA starters) and maybe you have something.

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      The Rays' arm depth is running out. And you're not considering the financial repercussions of your suggested trade (it's fun to dream though).

      • Gus says:

        Hard to say who the Rays would trade in this scenario, but a guy like Colome could really help Colorado this year, a ground ball guy like Gomes and maybe a guy like Guerei which Colorado can build on. They just need arms in bulk.

        Rosario and Brothers are both cheap and have club control. Just in the doghouse. Rosario is going to have to be an AL player after his historically bad efforts at catcher last year and his uncertain ability to be a full-time first baseman ever. But the Baby Bull can hit.

        I fully recognize the Rays would lead the universe in failed defensive catchers trying to get in a lineup with Jaso and Arencibia already in the fold, but Rosario would be worth it.

    • OriginalTom says:

      I do not see Rosario as any better than Dejesus or Jaso. His numbers are inflated by Coors Field. Seeing as he is a righty, though, he would make an excellent platoon partner.

  3. Richard from TX says:

    Brothers needs work...is not merely in the doghouse.

    According to an article I read the other day (FWIW) on a Rockies site, the previous pitch coach in Colo. tried to lengthen his delivery, and it messed him up last year real bad. It's supposed to have gotten into his head, and so he now needs methodically to rebuild his delivery along the more compact lines he had coming up.

  4. Michael says:

    Mike Montgomery would have made for an interesting LH bullpen arm -- perhaps could have made a transition similar to Wade Davis where a so-so to bad SP turned into an excellent RP in short stints. Seems a lot more valuable at this point that Erasmo turned out to be. Oh well.


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