05/15/12 8:26 PM ET
Rays recall Lueke to bolster 'pen
By Chris Toman / MLB.com
Lueke, who has appeared in two games for the Rays this season, was needed after the Rays used six relievers to win Monday's contest against the Blue Jays.
"We needed some help in the bullpen today, just in case," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He'll give us some length today if it's necessary. There will be several guys that should not be able to play today. So it was important that we did do that. Josh is here to help out in any way we deem necessary tonight."
Lueke is eager to make the most of the opportunity and said his splitter is coming around and that he's made some tweaks to his slider.
"The second time up is always a little bit better, nerves a little bit less," Lueke said. "Really, I just need to focus
on getting ahead with strike one, because that's my biggest downfall. I've been getting behind way too many hitters."
Niemann placed on DL with broken leg
TORONTO -- Jeff Niemann, who was seen hobbling around Rogers Centre in an air boot and crutches on Tuesday, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Niemann, who suffered a small fracture of his right fibula after taking a ball in the leg from Adam Lind on Monday, managed to stay in the game and finish off the first inning before leaving prior to the bottom of the second frame. Despite looking upset, Niemann was able to joke around about the injury.
"There is a lot of adrenaline going on, a lot of endorphins," Niemann said. "We tried to go, but definitely felt it. We got one out on it, so that's something we can take away from it."
There is currently no timetable for his return, but he is expected to be out four to six weeks. Nothing will become official until Niemann heads back to Tampa and gets re-examined, and even then, he knows he just has to be patient.
"I don't know being as large as he is, it might add something to it, I'm not 100 percent sure," Rays manager Joe Maddon said about his 6-foot-9 right-hander. "I thought it hit shoe, walk off, maybe sting a little bit. That's what I saw ... He had a grimace on his face. I really thought it hit him in the shoe, that's a really big shoe to hit. Hard to miss the shoe."
Maddon expects Niemann would probably need closer to six weeks than four, but admits it's just an educated guess.
Niemann is still trying to come to grips with the injury and was initially optimistic that it wouldn't be too severe, but knew when he felt a pain shoot up his leg on the way to the hospital that it was bad.
"It's a tough break, it hasn't really quite hit yet," Niemann said. "One of those things, you're out there playing, things happen quick, next thing you know I'm at the hospital getting X-rays. It is what it is.
"It didn't really go away. Usually when you get hit, it's going to hurt for a while and then it goes away. This one kind of stayed, if anything, got worse ... The range of motion decreased the longer after it happened."
The frustrating part, Niemann said, is that he couldn't have avoided it. Making matters worse, there were no crutches his size, so last night he was using undersized ones, before the team was able to get a pair from the Toronto Raptors.
Niemann expects to find ways to stay in shape and mentioned that he might have to throw off a chair to keep his arm ready.
"Trying to stay positive, hope for the best and see the doctors when we get back to Tampa. It's kind of one of those freak things that happen," Niemann said.
Cobb, Archer likely starter candidates
TORONTO -- Alex Cobb and Chris Archer are the likely candidates to fill the void left in the Rays' rotation created by Jeff Niemann's injury, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Maddon wouldn't tip his cap as to who out of the two is the favorite, but said they are who the team is currently looking at.
The Rays' skipper would prefer to keep Wade Davis, who started 29 games for the Rays in each of the past two years, in the bullpen.
"I want to talk to Wade Davis about it because I really like what he's doing in the bullpen right now. We will probably not go in that direction," Maddon said. "It's probably going to come from the Minor League area."
Archer and Cobb are not similar pitchers, according to Maddon, but they are both throwing well in the Minors and are ready to come up.
"Both have great arms," Maddon said. "Different pitchers in a sense. Archer [has] a little bit more dynamic arm, little bit more velocity. Cobb is a little bit like a Hellickson type; fastball, changeup kind of guy. Both good makeup. Cobb has done it before, did a great job for us last year. Both young with good makeup. We see both of them as being part of our future. They're both very interesting, they are both going to be very good Major League pitchers."
Cobb went 3-2 with a 3.42 ERA over nine starts with the Rays last season and is 1-4 with a 4.14 ERA at Triple-A Durham, but is coming off his best start of the season. He allowed no runs over five innings while matching his season high for strikeouts with eight.
Archer, meanwhile, is 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA at Durham and has won his last two starts. He is considered the Rays' No. 3 prospect, according to MLB.com
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.