Rays place Shane Baz on injured list, have 17 players sidelined

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay placed starter Shane Baz on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow sprain, leaving the Rays with 17 players on the IL.

Their list, which ties the Cincinnati Reds for the most in the major leagues, includes 12 pitchers.

Despite all the injury woes, Rays hold the first AL wild card spot.

Baz felt discomfort playing catch Tuesday and will be shut down for at least four weeks.

The right-hander, 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in six starts this season, had surgery on his right elbow in March and didn’t make his season debut until mid-June.

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said the two injuries are not related.

The Rays did get some good news on the injury front.

Luis Patino, out since April 12 with a left oblique strain and blister issues, is expected to start Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Another starter, Jeffrey Springs, is expected to return when eligible on July 22 after being sidelined by lower right leg tightness since July 7. The lefty is 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 19 games, including 11 starts.

Cash didn’t rule out second baseman Brandon Lowe returning this weekend. The slugger hasn’t played a big-league game since mid-May due to a lower back injury.

“He said he feels good and we’re encouraged by that,” Cash said.

Tampa Bay is missing shortstop Wander Franco (fractured hamate bone surgery), center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (left hip), catcher Mike Zunino (left shoulder) and ace Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery, Aug. 2021).

Tampa Bay recalled reliever Luke Bard from Triple-A Durham.

 

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.