Rays place All-Star closer Andrew Kittredge on injured list with back issue


The Rays have placed All-Star closer Andrew Kittredge on the injured list due to ongoing back issues, manager Kevin Cash told reporters on Sunday (via Ryan Bass). As Cash noted in his comments, that’s why right-hander Dusten Knight is with the club Sunday, so he’ll be the corresponding move. 

Kittredge, 32, is not used strictly as a one-inning closer — he plays for the Rays, after all — but he’s converted five saves in seven chances with three wins and a loss. He’s pitched to a 3.00 ERA, 4.71 FIP and 0.78 WHIP with 13 strikeouts against just one walk in 18 innings. 

With Kittredge down, the Rays will rearrange things a bit in the bullpen, but they still have righties J.P. Feyereisen, Jason Adam, Matt Wisler and Ryan Thompson along with lefties Brooks Raley and Colin Poche among those available for late-inning duty. Raley already has three saves himself while Thompson has two and Adam has one. 

Kittredge, of course, was the Rays’ most valuable reliever last season (he had a 210 ERA+ and a 0.97 WHIP in 57 appearances and made the All-Star team) and has the capability of being one of the better relievers in baseball, so it’s a blow that will be felt by the pitching staff as a whole. 

Kittredge hasn’t pitched since May 16, so the injured list move will be retroactive and he could return on May 29.

The Rays entered Sunday 24-16, which is 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. The two teams have a four-game series in Tropicana Field May 26-29. 

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