Rays Roundup: Niemann Out with Broken Leg

Jeff Niemann is the latest Rays injury victim.

In today's edition of Rays Roundup: Starter Jeff Niemann becomes the latest player to hit the disabled list after fracturing his fibula on Monday, Desmond Jennings heads to the DL after all, Elliot Johnson is swinging a hot stick and Sean Rodriguez plans to play through a muscle strain. All of that and more inside.

INSIDE PITCH

Niemann out at least four weeks with broken leg

Injuries have been a major issue for the Rays all season, and the team sustained another major one Monday.

Right-hander Jeff Niemann sustained a small fracture in his right fibula, just above the ankle, after being hit by a batted ball in the first inning of what ended up a 7-1 Rays win over the Blue Jays.

Niemann will be lost for at least four weeks and potentially several months.

"It's a tough break, literally," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not easy to lose a pitcher of his caliber."

Making it worse, Niemann -- who is the fifth starter but has a larger role given the struggles of rookie Matt Moore -- was coming off his best start of the season.

"It's a big loss," Maddon said. "We're constantly having our depth tested. He's been steadily getting better with what he's been doing, and he's one of our guys when he gets on a roll, he gets on this really good roll. So the impact will be felt based on his replacement and the work that that person does."

The Rays hadn't decided yet which pitcher would take Niemann's spot. Wade Davis would be the obvious candidate, but he has done well in the bullpen. Alex Cobb and Chris Archer would be the top choices from Class AAA.

After Niemann exited following the first inning Monday, Cesar Ramos entered for three innings of one-run ball. He got credit for the win. Davis then threw two scoreless innings, and J.P. Howell, Burke Badenhop and Jake McGee threw a shutout inning apiece to close out the win.


NOTES, QUOTES

A week after hurting knee, Jennings lands on DL

--OF Desmond Jennings didn't show any improvement in his sprained left knee so the Rays placed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 12, and called up OF/DH/C Stephen Vogt. Jennings was injured May 6, and an MRI the next day revealed the sprain, but the Rays expected improvement within a few days so they didn't put him on the DL then, using him twice as a pinch hitter. Now he will be out until at least May 27, and the manager Joe Maddon said the Rays aren't sure he will be ready then.

--INF Elliot Johnson extended his hitting streak to a career-high six games Monday. He has a .500 average (9-for-18) over that span, and he has started all six games.

--LHP Cesar Ramos was summoned from the bullpen when RHP Jeff Niemann had to leave after one inning due to injury. Ramos worked three innings of one-run ball and got his first major league win, and the customary beer shower. "Very cold," he said, "but it was good to get that first one."

--INF Sean Rodriguez acknowledged he was "more sore" Monday than he had been due to the muscle bruise or strain on the left side of his chest. However, he plans to play through it and was in the lineup at third base. "I'm going to, because I have to," said Rodriguez, who went 2-for-4 with a two-run double. "It's going to be pain-tolerance."

--LHP David Price starts in Toronto on Tuesday convinced his rough outing in New York last week (11 hits in seven innings) was more the product of good Yankees hitting than poor pitching. "I feel like ever since the game here in Toronto (April 18), I started to throw the ball very well," he said. "My fastball feels good."

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Rays players who will be on the disabled list with the addition of RHP Jeff Niemann.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "To win a game like that is unusual. I was really impressed with our effort tonight. I thought it was excellent." -- Manager Joe Maddon, on the Ray's comeback from a 1-0 deficit and the loss of RHP Jeff Niemann to earn a 7-1 win at Toronto.

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