How Will the Loss of Shane McClanahan Impact the Tampa Bay Rays?

Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan will miss the remainder of the regular season with a forearm issue.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 24: Shane McClanahan #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning in a baseball game at Tropicana Field on April 24, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

This past weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays placed left-hander Shane McClanahan on the 60-day IL, effectively ending his chance at returning this regular season with what the team is calling a left forearm issue. McClanahan hasn’t pitched since August 2nd and the Rays ace is scheduled to see Dr. Keith Meister today to explore options related to his injury.

Should the Maryland product require Tommy John surgery, it would be his second foray through the procedure, as he missed time back in 2016 when he was at the University of South Florida during his freshman season.

Losing McClanahan for the rest of the season is devastating news for a Rays squad that has lost the top spot in the AL East to the Baltimore Orioles, with the club sitting 3.0 games back within the division and first within the AL Wild Card. Back tightness had already forced McClanahan to miss a few starts earlier this season, with the southpaw making 21 starts, while pitching to a 3.29 ERA through 115 innings of work.

Boasting a 1.183 WHIP and a 126 ERA+, McClanahan was in the mix for the AL Cy Young if he had stayed healthy, striking out opponents at a 9.5 K/9 clip and helping the club win 15 of the 21 games he started.

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Tampa Bay Rays lose McClanahan for the season

For the Rays, McClanahan joins a growing number of starting pitchers who are on the shelf this season, as Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen, and Shane Baz are all out for the year with arm-related injuries while Tyler Glasnow and Josh Fleming have been limited to just 24 appearances combined due to injury.

In a tough AL East division with multiple series still to go against the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and Baltimore Orioles before the season comes to an end, the club will be leaning on Zach Eflin and Aaron Civale more down the stretch while hoping Glasnow and Fleming can stay healthy the rest of the way.

The club can also utilize Taj Bradley in the rotation or elect to go with bullpen starts over the next few weeks given the three off-days the club has spaced out during that time, although a 15-game stretch in early September will test the pitching staff should any member struggle either on the field or staying healthy.

Their postseason aspirations are still intact after the recent news, but the pitching staff will be tested the rest of the way, with any additional injuries posing serious concerns to an already limited staff and limited prospect depth at the starting pitching role ready to go in 2023.