TORONTO (AP) — Jeff Niemann was walking around the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse Tuesday with an assist from the Toronto Raptors.
Niemann, the 6’9″ right-hander who fractured his right leg in Monday’s win over the Blue Jays, is using a pair of crutches borrowed from the local NBA team. The idea to contact the Raptors for a pair of extra-tall crutches came from Rays athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.
The Rays placed Niemann on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and recalled right-hander Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham. Niemann, 2-3 with a 3.37 ERA in seven starts, is expected to miss four to six weeks after being struck on the right leg by a batted ball in the first inning Monday. He finished the inning and warmed up to start the second before being replaced.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said minor league pitchers Alex Cobb and Chris Archer are candidates to be called up when Niemann’s turn in the rotation comes up next on Saturday.
Lueke appeared in two games for the Rays earlier this season, giving up seven earned runs in 2 1-3 innings.
Niemann is the eighth player currently on the disabled list for the Rays, who remain tied with Baltimore for the AL East lead.