Rays' rotation hampered again with Ramirez's injury

Manager Cash not sure about severity of right-hander's groin strain

Rays' rotation hampered again with Ramirez's injury

CLEVELAND -- Erasmo Ramirez became the latest in the long blue line of Rays starters to get injured.

The Rays right-hander had to leave Saturday night's 4-1 Rays' win over the Indians with a right groin strain. His status at this juncture is unknown.

"If I continue throwing and [it] maybe gets worse, that means maybe I go on the DL instead of just [being out] a couple of days," Ramirez said. "That was the reason we just stopped throwing.

"I was worried because the bullpen has been throwing a lot. We're trying to save their arms. But, it's something I can't control. Once you have that feeling. you can make it worse. You have the lead, you hang one breaking ball, one pitch and change the game. So you better be smart. Bring in someone fresh."

Ramirez surrendered a leadoff single to Jason Kipnis to start the Indians' fourth then left the mound in obvious discomfort. To that point he had been pitching well, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three in three innings.

"Erasmo was outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Unfortunately, his groin tightened up. Don't quite know the severity of it. So far we're hearing good things that maybe we caught it early enough. So we'll see how he responds the next couple of days to treatment."

Ramirez will have no activity on Sunday and will likely throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

"That's the day they're going to make the decision about everything," Ramirez said. "Right now I feel good walking and running. But when you're on the mound stretching toward home plate. That's when you know."

The Rays do have an off day on Thursday, which could afford them more time to see if Ramirez can make his next start, or if his next start can simply be moved back.

Ironically, shortly after former Major Leaguer Dennis Martinez had just spoken glowingly to reporters about his fellow Nicaraguan, Ramirez, he was on the Indians broadcast when Ramirez got injured.

Given the way the Rays' luck has played out this season it would be hard for any Rays fan to think anything but disabled list for Ramirez.

Heading into Spring Training, the Rays starting rotation was supposed to look like this: Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi with Alex Colome and Nate Karns fighting for the fifth spot.

Since then Cobb has undergone Tommy John surgery, Smyly went on the 60-day DL with a torn left labrum, and Odorizzi currently resides on the DL with a left oblique strain.

Right-hander Burch Smith, who was acquired for depth purposes from San Diego in the Wil Myers trade, had Tommy John surgery and the start to Colome's season was delayed due to pneumonia.

The Rays do expect Odorizzi back soon and he could be joined by left-hander Matt Moore, who is in the finishing stretch of his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Ramirez was acquired at the end of Spring Training to provide pitching depth. And after a rough start that saw him post a whopping 25.31 ERA in his first two appearances, he won six of his previous seven starts heading into Saturday night. After Saturday night's start, Ramirez's ERA dropped to 4.23.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.