With Nick Anderson down, who’s up?

Shane McClanahan throws a bullpen session (Photo credit: Will Vragovic, Kevin Sabitus/Tampa Bay Rays)

Per Marc Topkin, Nick Anderson was diagnosed with a partial tear of an elbow ligament and is out past the All-Star break.  This will force the Rays to look for other options for high-leverage innings beyond Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks. 

Shane McClanahan has showed off his high velocity and nasty slider in Port Charlotte.  The Rays used him out of the bullpen in the playoffs last year, but the Rays see him as a future starter. The Florida native was optioned earlier in March, and when it’s his time, he will have to be stretched out and ready to start when called up.

Non-roster invitee and familiar face Andrew Kittredge is a certain possibility.  A UCL sprain kept him out through the back half of last season and the playoffs.  Avoiding surgery was the best option for the righty, as his spring outings have shown no loss in velocity and a clean bill of health.  This is the most realistic option, seeing as he was recently placed on the 40-man roster and Kevin Cash has put him in tight situations in seasons past. 

Andrew Kittridge was added to the 40-man roster Friday afternoon (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)

Effective options exist outside of the organization.  Former Ray Steve Cishek was granted his release from the Astros later in the day.  The righty-specialist found success in Tampa Bay in 2017 after the trade deadline, but recent years have not shown effectiveness culminating with a rising Fielding Independent Pitching.

Shane Greene has been an electrifying righty out of the pen for years with Detroit and Atlanta, but he is still without a team a week before opening day.  With the Rays down an experienced fireman, Greene is likely the best option in free agency.

Rays fans for years have dreamed of a Josh Hader trade, but with Milwaukee in contention for the NL Central and a high price tag, this seems unrealistic for the moment.  The perennial All-Star has been mentioned in trade talks going back to 2019.  If the Brewers falter this season and the Rays are contending, it may not be so far-fetched.