Boston Red Sox

Friar: Dombrowski already has Red Sox rotation in mind, but is it the best combination?

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Friar: Dombrowski already has Red Sox rotation in mind, but is it the best combination?

With Clay Buchholz finally gone -- although somehow there were still people who complained about him leaving, many of whom wanted him traded for a bag of balls not so long ago -- the Red Sox find themselves with six starting pitchers on the major-league roster.

Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price fill the first three slots in the rotation, leaving Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz fighting for the final two spots.

While there’s still plenty of time for each to separate himself from the others, Dave Dombrowski already has two starters in mind. He told ESPN's Buster Olney in his most recent podcast that Pomeranz and Wright are penciled in.

That being said, there may be a better pairing. Let's look at each potential combination at 4 and 5:

Wright-Pomeranz

These two were All-Stars in 2016. So, in some ways, it seems like a no-brainer for Dombrowski and John Farrell.

Wright offers a different feel from everyone else on the staff with his knuckleball, and is more than just an innings-eater. After his midseason acquisition Pomeranz showed he has something to offer. Plus, Dave Dombrowski sent the organization’s top pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza, to San Diego for him, so he has more room for error that he should.

By leaving E-Rod out, that gives him a chance to gain more confidence at Triple-A. And it can serve as a wake-up call, too.

Rodriguez-Wright

Twelve months ago, Rodriguez was slated to be the Red Sox' No. 2 arm in the starting rotation. While injuries and maturity issues created issues throughout the year, he seemed to rise above it all that towards the seasons’ end.

Pomeranz has shown he can be a strong arm in relief and could work well with the newly energized bullpen.

Pomeranz-Rodriguez

This would give the staff four lefty starters. That’s great for lefty-dominant lineups (though if you face one like the Toronto lineups of recent years, you could be in big trouble). Additionally, you’ll have two younger left-handed arms learning from two of the best left-handed starting pitchers this century.

Wright’s also the most flexible pitcher of the three. He needs time to build his stamina back up, but just by nature knuckleballers can make adjustments like that on the fly quicker.

Best Pair

With all due respect to Dombrowski, it's Wright and Rodriguez.

Pomeranz can serve well in the bullpen. And as a starter, Rodriguez has an unbelievable chance to learn from three very different aces ahead of him. 

Plus, if E-Rod can’t pitch in Boston with those three ahead of him, then the Sox will know he’s never going to be successful here. So this could serve as a safe and easy measuring stick for Dombrowski.

Price explains 'self-healing' elbow, says recent injury is in 'lower triceps'

Price explains 'self-healing' elbow, says recent injury is in 'lower triceps'

CLEVELAND -- For the first time since he was hurt in spring training, David Price gave some detail as to what’s going on with his elbow injury — and what he meant when he said he has a “unique” elbow.

Speaking to Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic, Price said that his arm injury most recently is  “kind of the lower triceps -- that’s where I felt it.” 

“It wasn’t pain,” Price said via Rosenthal. “And it was only on an off-speed pitch. The days that I played catch in Seattle (before his second trip to the DL), I could throw as hard as I wanted with the fastball, and it was fine. But when I spun a breaking ball or threw a changeup, that’s when I felt it.”

MORE MEDICAL NEWS

When Price was hurt for the first time in 2017, back in spring training, he visited a pair of renowned surgeons and came back to Florida with news that he had a unique elbow. He did not detail what that meant, except to say if he were younger, he could have gone under the knife.

Price said at the time he didn't know what his injury was

Apparently, his unique elbow involves a self-healing quality.

“It heals itself,” Price said of his elbow. “It lays down bone on my ligament. It calcifies and turns into bone.”

Dr. James Andrews, who examined Price, explained the situation to Rosenthal as a generality, not with specifics to Price.

“Repeated stress to the ligament over its attachment below the joint causes a gradual pulling reaction that over time forms what we call a traction spur,” Andrews said. “It pulls on it and instead of pulling off, it has a healing response with calcification and eventually bone formation. The bone that forms protrudes up into the ligament. You can say that the actual ligament turns into bone as it progresses.”

Price is in Boston as the Red Sox play the Indians in Cleveland. He threw out to 90 feet on Tuesday from flat ground and was scheduled to throw again from flat ground on Wednesday.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Red Sox put Jackie Bradley Jr. on DL, recall Deven Marrero

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Red Sox put Jackie Bradley Jr. on DL, recall Deven Marrero

The Red Sox have placed center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb and recalled infielder Deven Marrero from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bradley injured the thumb sliding home against the Indians on Tuesday night in the seventh inning of the Red Sox' 9-1 victory. He returned to Boston Wednesday for an MRI on his thumb. 

Bradley hit his 14th homer Tuesday and his hitting .262 with 54 RBI and a .775 OPS as well as continuing to play Gold-Glove caliber defense.

Marrero hit .212 with three homers, 23 RBI and a .576 OPS in a 58-game stint with Boston earlier this season, playing mostly third base.