Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan exited his start on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros (GameTracker) in the fifth inning because of tightness on the left side of his neck, according to the team. McClanahan was shown on the broadcast rolling his shoulder after delivering a pitch to Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña in an apparent effort to loosen up his neck muscles.
Rays manager Kevin Cash and assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval subsequently visited the mound. McClanahan appeared to tell the pair that he was "good," but the Rays removed him anyway. Right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong replaced him. You can watch the entire scene unfold by clicking the video below:
McClanahan's final line on Tuesday saw him allow five runs on five hits and four walks across four innings of work. He struck out three batters and delivered 45 of his 80 pitches (or 56.3 percent) for strikes. The performance increased his seasonal ERA up to 2.36. It should be noted that his average fastball velocity on Tuesday was in line with his season-long norms, according to Statcast.
McClanahan, 25, entered the game with a 2.13 ERA (169 ERA+) and a 6.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 25 starts this season. Tuesday night's start was just his second since he returned from the injured list on Sept. 15. He'd missed a couple of weeks because of a left shoulder impingement.
The Rays came into Tuesday with an 82-65 mark on the regular season, putting them a half-game up on the Seattle Mariners for the second wild card spot. Both the Rays and Mariners were five-plus games up on the Baltimore Orioles, the first team out of the American League side of the bracket.
The Rays did receive some good news on Tuesday: Tyler Glasnow, who hasn't thrown in a big-league game since June 14, 2021, after undergoing Tommy John surgery, will make one more start in the minors before rejoining the club next week.