Spring training is right around the corner, but neither Drew Pomeranz nor Steven Wright will throw off a mound anytime soon. That’s the word from Red Sox’ GM John Farrell, who told reporters on Sunday that Wright has not fully recovered from a bout of bursitis in his right shoulder (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). Pomeranz is still rehabbing his elbow after receiving a stem cell injection in October.
Mastrodonato points out that neither starter is expected to miss the start of the regular season, at least not for the time being. Both pitchers will undergo physicals on Monday that should give the team more information to go off of, though it makes sense to take things slow over the next month or so.
Wright, 32, enjoyed his first All-Star season with the Red Sox in 2016. He turned in a 3.33 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 156 2/3 innings before hitting the disabled list in August with shoulder issues. Previous reports from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggested that the knuckleballer would be ready to go by mid-February, but while he’s made progress throwing on flat ground, he still needs to build up his arm strength before taking the mound again.
Pomeranz, on the other hand, could risk losing his rotation spot if the rest of the spring doesn’t go according to plan. At least, that’s how Mastrodonato sees things, noting that the 28-year-old experienced issues beyond his health problems during the 2016 season. After putting up a 2.47 ERA, 10.1 SO/9 and 5.9 H/9 with the Padres through the first half of the year, Pomeranz had trouble adjusting to the confines of Fenway Park and delivered a 4.59 ERA, 9.3 SO/9 and 9.2 H/9 in 68 2/3 innings with the Red Sox. Should the left-hander find himself out of a starting role come April, however, the Sox will still have to count on Wright and fellow rehabbing starter Eduardo Rodriguez to flesh out the rotation.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.