Rays’ Garrett Cleavinger could miss season because of knee injury

cleavinger injury
Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE — The Tampa Bay Rays put left-handed reliever Garrett Cleavinger on the 15-day injured list with what manager Kevin Cash said appears to be a right ACL injury.

Cleavinger could miss the rest of the season after hurting his knee during a rundown in Sunday’s victory over the New York Yankees.

“Certainly frustrating for him, frustrating for us because he’s a big part of our team,” Cash said.

Cleavinger is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances for the Rays, who have baseball’s best record. Tampa Bay recalled right-hander Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Durham.

Tampa Bay had the third-best bullpen ERA in baseball entering Monday night’s game at Baltimore. The Rays are also without relievers Pete Fairbanks (right forearm inflammation), Andrew Kittredge (right elbow surgery), Shawn Armstrong (neck tightness) and Jeffrey Springs (left elbow flexor strain). They are all on the IL.

“The guys down there have done a good job kind of holding the fort down, knowing that we’re battling through some injuries,” Cash said. “This one is a little different in the fact that there’s not too much optimism to get him back any time soon.”

Kelley has appeared in one game this season for the Rays.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”