RHP Jeff Niemann said Friday he pitched with some discomfort in his right shoulder during spring training, but it never worsened so he figured it was not going to be an issue.

Three days into the regular season it became an issue.

Niemann was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with right shoulder soreness and RHP Brandon Gomes was recalled from Triple-A Durham.

“We’ve been fighting this for a while, and this whole time we’ve always been heading in the right direction, and we’re feeling like we were doing all right,” Niemann said. “These past three days we’re just trying to stay ready and be active down there in the bullpen, and it’s really kind of set me back a few steps.”

Niemann was scheduled to see Rays team physician Koco Eaton on Friday night.

“It’s disappointing for him and for us,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I really envisioned him doing a lot of good things for us this year. He still can. Let’s see what the doctor has to say and we’ll move forward from there.”

This marks the fourth time in as many big-league seasons that Niemann has gone on the DL. In 2010, it was for a right shoulder strain. In 2011, it was for a lower back strain. In 2012, it was for a fractured right fibula. Niemann returned from that injury on Sept. 1 but missed the remainder of the season because of a sore right arm.

Niemann described the discomfort in his shoulder as “pain and overall achiness.” He said it was the result of his trying to stay “loose, stay warm” during games.

When asked when he decided it was time to alert the training staff, Niemann said, “When you’re sitting out there (in the bullpen) and when the phone rings and you’re hoping it’s not for you because you can’t throw a baseball, that’s as clear as it got for me.”

Niemann said he wasn’t sure what role the shoulder discomfort played in his velocity being down during spring training. He maintained all spring that his shoulder was fine and believed it would be once the season began. But he said preparing each day for his new role as a reliever turned the discomfort into pain.

“It’s gone south faster than I thought it could have these last few days,” he said.