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The Tampa Bay Rays have placed ace lefty Shane McClanahan on the injured list due to a back injury that they are calling mid-back tightness. It has hampered him in his last two starts and now he goes on the shelf. In a corresponding move, Jalen Beeks has been recalled.

McClanahan was cruising this season, possibly toward a second consecutive start in the All-Star Game, but then his back flared up and he lasted only 3 2/3 innings against the hapless Royals on June 22. He had his next start pushed back to Friday night in Seattle and he coughed up four runs on five hits in three innings with just one strikeout.

On the season, McClanahan is 11-1 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 101 strikeouts in 96 innings, so those last two outings being so poor was certainly a strong sign that the back was impacting his performance. 

The Rays enter play Saturday with a 57-28 record, which is good for a 6 1/2-game lead in the AL East. 

They do, however, have rotation issues due to injury. Jeffrey Springs was lost for the season back in April and Drew Rasmussen has been on the injured list since May 11. Lefty Josh Fleming either starts or serves as the "length" guy behind an opener and he's also on the shelf, as is Shane Baz, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. McClanahan joins them to form what would be a vaunted rotation on the IL. 

As for the actual, able-bodied rotation at this time, the Rays have Tyler Glasnow, Zach Eflin, Taj Bradley and Yonny Chirinos

This is an organization that's as good as any in being creative with its pitching and getting the most out of said pitchers. Still, this is a pretty big test here in the upcoming weeks until McClanahan and possibly some others return. The good news for the Rays is they've won so many games, they can afford a bit of a slide.