By Matt Snyder
Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann threw 45 pitches in a simulated game Monday with no setbacks, so he'll head out on a rehab stint soon.
"The last bullpen and today was the test," he said. "We were going full-bore, everything felt great. I think I’m ready to take the next step." (TBOblogs.com)
Niemann was placed on the disabled list May 6 with a strained lower back. The Rays will figure when his rehab stint begins based upon the timetable of throwing a 60-pitch game, a 70-pitch game, then a 90-pitch game. After his 90-pitch start, he'll rejoin the Rays' big-league rotation five days later.
Niemann is 1-4 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 31 1/3 innings this season. Andy Sonnanstine has taken Niemann's place in the rotation since the injury. However, Alex Cobb has been recalled and will start Tuesday for the Rays.
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