Boston Red Sox

McAdam: Relief-seeking Sox may need to go back to trade market

McAdam: Relief-seeking Sox may need to go back to trade market

BOSTON -- Now that the Red Sox have addressed their starting rotation needs -- with the acquisition of Drew Pomeranz and a much-improved performance from Eduardo Rodriguez -- another leak has sprung.

In the last two weeks, the Red Sox have placed three key bullpen arms on the disabled list. Junichi Tazawa, who had a shoulder injury, has been sidelined since July 3, though he's expected to be activated Friday. Craig Kimbrel, who underwent knee surgery, will be sidelined until well until August. And today they placed Koji Uehara on the DL because of a right pectoral strain that forced him out of Tuesday night's game after seven pitches.

It's unknown how serious the setback is, but it's safe to say Uehara will be unavailable for at least a little while.

Here it is, late July, and the Red Sox are, for the time being, without their three best relievers.

That means there's a good chance that Dave Dombrowski may have to re-assess his position from the night he landed Pomeranz, when he said the Red Sox were likely done with any significant trades with the deadline still 12 days away.

The earlier deal that netted them Brad Ziegler from Arizona looms even more significant now. Not only as Ziegler been highly effective in his set-up role to date with three scoreless appearances, but he may be asked to take on a bigger role with the absences of Kimbrel, Tazawa and Uehara.

For the time being, expect Ziegler to handle the closing duties, with Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree as the primary high-leverage options in the seventh and eighth innings.

Should Uehara require a stint on the DL, the Sox could replace him by speeding up Joe Kelly's return to the big-league roster. Kelly has been impressive as he transitions to the bullpen in Pawtucket, though he has little experience pitching in relief in the big leagues.

There's also the matter of roster spots. When the Sox activate Tazawa later this week, they'll face a tough call in creating space. Their choices would seem to come down to cutting ties with Clay Buchholz -- either dealing him, designating him for assignment or releasing him altogether -- or optioning Hembree to the minors.

Before Uehara got hurt Tuesday night, the Hembree option made the most sense, if for no other reason that it allowed the Sox to continue to control all the pitchers in question. Hembree has pitched well and deserves to stay, but as one of just two pitchers in the bullpen with remaining options -- Barnes is the other -- he might be a victim of the numbers game.

More interesting is what the Red Sox intend to do with Buchholz.

While he's done little to inspie confidence at any point this season with a 5.91 ERA and a WHIP of 1.488, Buchholz is, for now, the only depth starting option in the entire organization. Would the Sox let him go without having any suitable insurance in the event something happens to one of their five starters?

The situation will be clarified later Wednesday, when more is learned about the severity of Uehara's condition. But either way, the Sox face some tough calls and, perhaps, a commitment to sacrifice additional prospects in a deal for more bullpen help before the deadline.

After bloodied nose, Dustin Pedroia expected in Red Sox lineup Wednesday

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After bloodied nose, Dustin Pedroia expected in Red Sox lineup Wednesday

BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Wednesday, manager John Farrell said. Not a bad turnaround time for someone who, on Monday, was holding his jersey to his face as he was bleeding.

Pedroia hit a foul ball that bounced off the plate and into his nose on Monday night. He did not go for further testing on Tuesday, which was a positive sign. A CAT scan would have been needed to see the full extent of the damage.

“He’s sore,” Farrell said. “I would think in an emergency only would we even consider putting him in a game [Tuesday]. But felt like after talking with him here and after he got checked out, felt like it was best to just hold him out a day. I would expect him to be back in the lineup tomorrow, but there was no further imaging here today. Didn’t feel like the follow-up with the medical staff warranted it. But he is sore, there’s no question.”

Farrell said the subject of Pedroia employing some sort of protective piece attached to his helmet or other type of guard going forward had not been broached. But, Farrell acknowledged that using such a thing likely wouldn’t be Pedroia’s style.

Other injury news: 

• Eduardo Nunez was slated to run the bases on Wednesday, but the way Farrell was talking on Tuesday, that may not happen.

• Hanley Ramirez pinch-hit on Monday but remained out of the lineup Tuesday because of right biceps inflammation. 

• Carson Smith is in consideration for the postseason roster, Farrell said.

• David Price declared himself available Monday, Farrell said, and Farrell left open the possibility he could pitch even Tuesday. But Farrell's preference was to give Price more rest after his two innings Sunday. 

Price going through ‘trial-and-error process’ physically

Price going through ‘trial-and-error process’ physically

BALTIMORE — David Price definitely preferred to start rather than pitch out of the bullpen, but in an interview with the Washington Post, the Red Sox’ temporarily converted reliever emphasized his overall desire to do something rather than nothing. 

“I’ll be able to help — maybe not as much as I would as a starter, I feel like, but that time of the season, I know how big that is, to have a guy who can [pitch in that role],” Price told the Post’s Dave Sheinin. “If we make it to October and I throw the ball extremely well coming out of the ‘pen, it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t a starter. I just want to help these guys win.”

Price looked excellent in a two-inning stint Sunday in Tampa Bay, using all four pitches and touching 96 mph on his fastball. But how Price feels physically still appears to be a touch-and-go matter.

He described his most recent injury to The Athletic as being mostly related to the triceps. Speaking to the Post, Price said he’s going through “a trial-and-error process.”

“I’ve always been a guy who hasn’t had [next-day] soreness,” he said. “I’ve never had problems with my arm. When I pitch, the next day, I feel like I can pitch that day. I’ve always told my managers that. When I see them the next day, I’m like, ‘I’m good.’ This is still a trial-and-error process, too. We don’t know how it’s going to respond, but when I woke up [Monday] morning I felt good.”

Price indicated he feels good about his ability to persevere.

“I’ve dealt with it. I’ve gotten through it,” Price said. “Most people would’ve been at the house months ago. I didn’t pack it in. Does it feel good? No. [But] I still pitched. If people don’t appreciate that, or can’t, so be it.”