Afterward, he did not isolate the location of the stiffness in his arm, but he did not anticipate having medical tests performed at this juncture. Rather, it appears the Rays will take a wait-and-see stance.
Niemann had three scoreless innings under his belt in what appeared to be a glorious return from the disabled list. He retired Rajai Davis on a flyout to right field to start the fourth. He then stepped off the mound and was paid a visit by Rays manager Joe Maddon and team trainers.
After a brief conference, Niemann left the game and J.P. Howell was summoned from the bullpen.
"Between the third and fourth inning, things just kind of tightened up a little bit," Niemann said. "[I] just wasn't able to comfortably throw like in the first three innings."
Maddon said the decision to lift Niemann was not a difficult one.
"He just didn't feel right," Maddon said. "There's no way when a pitcher tells you his arm is a little sore you're going to leave him out there."
Niemann spent the last 3 1/2 months on the disabled list with a fractured right fibula that he suffered on May 14 against the Blue Jays when a line drive hit by Adam Lind struck him in the first inning.
Niemann said he hopes the problem will not linger.
"I'm hoping not," Niemann said. "... [We'll] see how it feels tomorrow, go home and see how we are."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less