Dustin Pedroia has played through a partially torn adductor muscle in his right thumb for much of the season, but now a “new” thumb injury has forced the Red Sox second baseman to the disabled list.
Boston made the move official before tonight’s game, with manager Bobby Valentine telling reporters that Pedroia’s current injury is a sprained right thumb that’s unrelated to the previous injury and occurred Tuesday while diving for a ball defensively.
Valentine indicated during an interview with WEEI radio that the Red Sox hope to have Pedroia back shortly after the All-Star break, and in the meantime they called up infielder Pedro Ciriaco from Triple-A to take his roster spot.
Pedroia got off to a strong start this season, hitting .295 with an .850 OPS to basically duplicate his career norms through 48 games, but since suffering the initial thumb injury on May 28 he’s hit just .210 with a .587 OPS in 26 games.
Ciriaco is a 26-year-old journeyman who was signed as a minor-league free agent in January and has never hit much in the minors, so he’s more likely to serve as a bench depth than to fill in for Pedroia. Of course, with presumed fill-in Nick Punto hitting just .180 and third baseman Will Middlebrooks also banged up Valentine may feel like getting creative with the infield.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.