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Rays place Eflin on IL with back inflammation, reinstate Brandon Lowe

Mark Blinch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Tampa Bay Rays got one key piece back Monday but lost another to injury.

Tampa Bay placed right-hander Zach Eflin on the 15-day injured list with lower back inflammation, the team announced. Second baseman Brandon Lowe was reinstated from the 10-day IL in a corresponding move.

It's not yet clear when Eflin was injured or how long he'll be sidelined for. He pitched six innings during his most recent start Saturday in Toronto but allowed four runs and a season-high nine hits. The 30-year-old missed time due to the same back issue last year but returned after the minimum amount of time on the IL.

Eflin has been one of the Rays' most important and consistent starting pitchers this year in the wake of multiple pitching injuries. While his 6.7 K/9 rate is down significantly from 2023, he's walked just four batters and allowed eight homers in 59 innings. He also leads the majors in BB/9 (0.6) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.00).

Tampa Bay currently has six starting pitchers on the IL besides Eflin, with three of them currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. The team lost Ryan Pepiot last week after he was hit in the leg by a line drive.

Lowe, meanwhile, returns to the Rays' lineup after missing over a month due to a right oblique strain. He only appeared in eight games during the early stages of this season, hitting .185/.267/.333 with one home run in eight games before going on the IL. The 29-year-old just completed a six-game rehab assignment in Triple-A that saw him post a 1.028 OPS and drive in eight runs.

Tampa Bay has used six different players at second base already this year because of Lowe's injury.

The Rays also announced that left-hander Richard Lovelady, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, has reported to the team and will be in the bullpen for Monday's game against the Boston Red Sox. Right-hander Manuel Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move.

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