Tampa Bay Rays towering right hander Jeff Niemann will miss four to six weeks after fracturing his right fibula in Monday night's win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Niemann took a ball off his right leg in the first inning but continued to pitch, finishing the inning. But he limped back out to the mound to start the second, and he was taken to the locker room before he faced a batter. X-rays later revealed the small fracture, and Joe Maddon -- pun unintended -- was not happy about the loss, via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
"It's a tough break, literally," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not easy to lose a pitcher of his caliber."
Niemann was coming off his best start of the season, and was 2-3 with a 1.18 WHIP and 3.38 ERA. In seven starts this year, he struck out 30 and walked 12.
Manager Joe Maddon has not announced who will replace Niemann in the rotation, but he indicated that he's happy with the work Wade Davis is doing out of the bullpen. Niemann beat out Davis for the final spot in the rotation. Eric Hahmann of DRaysBay thinks Alex Cobb could be a likely replacement while Niemann's leg heals over the next four to six weeks.
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