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Rays ace Shane McClanahan ‘highly unlikely’ to pitch again this season, manager says

The Tampa Bay Rays have come back down to earth after a scorching hot start, and they may have just been dealt their biggest setback of the season.

Ace Shane McClanahan is “highly unlikely” to pitch again this season, Rays manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday, via the Tampa Bay Times.

The lefty hit the 15-day injured list last week with tightness in his throwing forearm, often a precursor of worse problems ahead.

The Rays said McClanahan will see another specialist before determining next steps, but “everything is on the table.”

This is McClanahan’s fourth trip to the IL in his three-year career and his second this season. He was on the IL from July 1 to July 17 with back tightness. Late last season, he missed time with a left shoulder impingement.

McClanahan is 11-2 with a 3.26 ERA, and he allowed five earned in four innings in his most recent start against the struggling New York Yankees.

Shane McClanahan winding up

He was named an All-Star in July for the second straight season but missed the midsummer classic because of his earlier IL stint. He started last year’s All-Star Game and finished in sixth place in AL Cy Young Award voting.

The Rays already lost Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen to Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

Tampa Bay started the season by winning its first 13 games and went 30-9 in its first 39. Since then, the Rays are 38-37. On June 30, they were a season-high 29 games above .500 at 57-28. In July, their 8-16 record was the second-worst in MLB. They are 11-18 since July 1.

Shane McClanahan throws

The 68-46 Rays trail the Baltimore Orioles by three games in the AL East but hold the first wild-card spot by 3½ games. They have a four-game cushion for the final postseason spot.

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