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Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright prepare for spring training setbacks

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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.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.