OK, AJ is out for the weekend series against LA. He told the team yesterday he had some discomfort in his calf, and was placed on the 15-day DL. AJ was supposed to go tomorrow, so Jeff Locke will be bumped up a day to cover that and Gerrit Cole will go Sunday.
AJ is the ninth starter to hit the DL, joining Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens, Phil Irwin, Kyle McPherson, James McDonald, Jeanmar Gomez and Wandy Rodriguez. The bullpen has been hit with injuries to Jared Hughes, Jose Contreras and Vic Black. Good thing the FO emphasized pitching depth this year, hey?
That leaves Saturday open; our guess is that Bryan Morris will get that call. If they don't want to mess with the pen (the next off day is the 24th), then Andy Oliver is the next in line at Indy for a spot start. His last outing was on the 9th, he's on the 40-man roster, and he's seen some MLB action with the Tigers, so he'll be OK to go in a number of ways. Then again, he hasn't gone over six IP for Indy this year and has walked six in five of his past six games, so he's a mixed bag. Very less likely is a J-Mac visit.
As for Charlie Morton's return, well, that required a little paperwork. He had to be returned to the 40-man and active rosters. The Bucs FO took the roster shuffling to the wire, no doubt in light of Burnett's injury and maybe burning the cell batteries working on a late deal for one of their fringier relievers.
The ultimate outcome: Jose Contreras was given his unconditional release to clear the 40-man spot, pretty much a no brainer, while AJ's trip to the DL opened an active spot. Now Charlie's good to go, but that Bucco rotation is gonna be awfully thin for awhile.