Rays turn to Alex Cobb, not Wade Davis, as Jeff Niemann’s rotation replacement

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Jeff Niemann is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured right leg, but rather than shift Wade Davis back to the rotation the Rays are turning to Alex Cobb as the fill-in.

No official announcement has been made yet, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Cobb will pitch in Niemann’s place tomorrow versus the Braves. And according to Topkin the other candidate considered for the job was not Davis, but rather Chris Archer.

In other words, the Rays really want to keep Davis in the bullpen, where the career-long starter currently has a 1.86 ERA and 18/7 K/BB ratio in 19 innings.

Cobb made nine starts for the Rays as a rookie last season and the 24-year-old right-hander pitched well with a 3.42 ERA and 37/21 K/BB ratio in 53 innings, but then missed the final two months following surgery to remove a blockage near his rib cage and began this year in the minors.

Dave Martinez undergoes cardiac catheterization, return date unknown

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Nationals manager Dave Martinez left the team in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 7-0 win over the Braves to go to the hospital as a precautionary measure, Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington reported. Bench coach Chip Hale took over as manager for the remainder of the game.

Per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, GM Mike Rizzo said Martinez felt chest pains and underwent a cardiac catheterization today. The procedure assesses the heart’s condition. The team doesn’t know yet when Martinez will return.

With Hale continuing to fill in as manager, Tim Bogar will act as the bench coach in place of Hale and Joe Dillon will coach first base in place of Bogar.

The Nationals enter play Monday leading the first NL Wild Card by 1.5 games over the Cubs. The Nationals open up a six-game road trip with three games against the Cardinals starting Monday night. Stephen Strasburg will oppose Dakota Hudson.