Posted on June 12, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
As expected, the Tampa Bay Rays placed starter Matt Andriese on the 10-day DL Monday. However, the prognosis on the righty appears to be worse than expected. The Rays originally planned to send Andriese to the DL wit a strained right groin. But he has now been diagnosed with a hip issue that will keep him sidelined until at least August.
Andriese started on Saturday but lasted just one inning against Oakland before being removed due to the groin strain. Further examination of the groin injury revealed a stress reaction in his hip. A team official said that Andriese won’t need surgery to treat the hip injury. However, Andriese will require a considerable amount of rest for the hip to heal, keeping him out for at least a couple months.
When he’s been healthy this year, Andriese has been one of Tampa Bay’s best starters. Andriese has bounced between Tampa’s rotation and the bullpen the past two years. However, this year he has finally solidified a permanent spot in Tampa’s rotation. In 12 starts this year, Andriese is 5-1 with a 3.54 ERA, the lowest among the team’s starters.
With Andriese going to the DL, the Rays have recalled rookie Jacob Faria. The 23-year old will start Tuesday against the Blue Jays, pushing everyone else in the rotation back a day. Faria was impressive in his big-league debut last week against the White Sox. He allowed just one run on three hits over 6.1 innings, striking out five.
Faria is rated as Tampa Bay’s 9th best prospect, according to MLB.com. He was sent back to triple-A right after his start last week. But the injury to Andriese has forced the Rays to bring him right back. The Rays have other options for their rotation if Faria doesn’t work out. Blake Snell, who began the season in the rotation, has pitched well in the minors since being demoted. Of course, the Rays are hopeful Faria will prove to be a long-term replacement for Andriese.
“The way he just threw strikes overall, that was the biggest thing,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Faria’s big league debut. “He showed zero fear of attacking and getting outs in the zone. And that’s a big ask for a young guy to come in and come get some of these hitters out. But you gotta prove and establish that you’re willing to get them out in the zone, not looking for a chase every single time they’re going to swing, and he did that. I was just really impressed with the fastball command and not altering his approach because he’s at a different level now.”
Faria certainly looked ready for a full-time spot in a major league rotation in his debut last week. But the loss of Andriese for an extended period of time is a serious blow for the Rays nonetheless. Tampa Bay has quietly moved into third place in the AL East and a tie for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
The Rays have moved into that position on the back of their starting rotation, which is one of the best in baseball. If Tampa Bay can continue to pitch at a high level, the club will undoubtedly be relevant in the playoff race the second half of the season. But losing Andriese, who’s arguably been their best starter this year, poses a problem for the Rays, despite considerable depth in their rotation.