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When Will the Missing Red Sox Return?

missing Red Sox

Missing Red Sox

The Red Sox fell to Detroit on Friday 6-5. They made a valiant comeback effort in the 8th, but their depleted bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. All-in-all, it was a pretty good showing for a team missing three of its top hitters. Red Sox nation should be feeling pretty good about their club’s 2-1 start to the season, despite the absence of some pretty big stars.

mookie betts photo

Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaers and Hanley Ramirez (not pictured) combined for 81 home runs and 313 RBI in 2016

Photo by Keith Allison

Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Robbie Ross, Jr.

The latest Red Sox to fall to the team’s epidemic flu bug are Betts and Ramirez, who missed yesterday’s 6-5 loss to the Tigers.

Betts was able to play in the opener on Monday, but has been sidelined ever since.

Ramirez is the latest casualty, having come down with the Flu on Thursday. Neither Betts nor Ramirez traveled with the team to Detroit.

It is hoped they will recover soon.

Boston placed Robbie Ross, Jr. on the 10-day disabled list with the Flu yesterday. It’s retroactive to April 3rd, so he’ll be eligible to come off next Thursday.

The team’s flu is associated with a high grade fever.

The entire team had flu shots in the off-season.

“Understand, this isn’t just someone getting some aches and sniffles,” Farrell told “There’s a high-grade fever that’s been associated with this. So we’ve done our best to quarantine individuals, but at the same time, I think we have to be realistic on what, physically, we can expect from each guy that’s had to go through it. We’re hopeful Mookie travels in here later [Friday]. It’s more day-to-day status with Hanley, and when he can eventually get here.”

Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes

Both Barnes and Bogaerts are currently on the bereavement list. They should be back in a few days after spending time with their families. Players can be placed on the list for 3-7 games.

David Price

Price is expected to throw a bullpen session on Monday. His last bullpen session was on February 28th, when he reported he initially reported pain and weakness in his throwing arm. It was originally feared that he had a season ending injury. However, it now seems to be much less serious. The Boston Herald reports he has a “flexor mass strain.” If you’re curious what that actually is, you can read about it here.

“A flexor-pronator strain of the elbow is a common source of pain in the elbows of pitchers. The pain is located on the medial side of the elbow (the inside of the elbow closest to the body). There are many causes of pain on the medial side of the elbow in pitchers and other throwing and overhead athletes, such as medial epicondylitis (“golfer’s elbow), ulnar neuritis or ulnar nerve compression, and ulnar collateral ligament injury. Therefore diagnosis of this injury can be difficult.

A flexor-pronator strain can either result from an acute event or can develop as a result of overuse. A pitcher who has an acute flexor-pronator strain will remember a specific throw where he felt sharp pain on the medial side of the elbow. His pain will usually be located just past the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow. He often will have pain flexing the wrist or pronating the forearm.

Evaluation by a sports medicine physician is important soon after the injury to try to determine the correct diagnosis quickly. X-rays are usually normal with this injury. In high-level athletes an MRI is often ordered to ensure that the pain is not coming from an underlying injury to the ulnar collateral ligament, also known as the Tommy John injury. Most of the time, a flexor-pronator strain is treated with rest from pitching for several weeks to give the tendons time to heal. Ice and physical therapy can also be helpful to decrease the athlete’s symptoms. As the pain improves, the pitcher will be started on a long toss program prior to returning to full pitching” – Dr. David Geier

Right now, it looks like the earliest he could return to the team would be early May.

Tyler Thornburg

Thornburg was acquired from the Brewers last December in the Travis Shaw trade. He was light-out for the Brewers last season, compiling a 2.15 ERA in 67 appearances for the Brewers. The hard throwing 27-year-old would certainly have been helpful in the 8th yesterday against the Tigers. Of all the missing Red Sox, he might have been the one most needed for that game.

Thornburg suffered a right shoulder impingement during Spring Training. It’s speculated that this is a result of him adjusting to the team’s throwing program.

Right now it looks as if the earliest we could see him make his Red Sox debut would be in early May.

carson smith baseball photo

Carson Smith pitching for the Mariners in 2015

Photo by Keith Allison

Carson Smith

Smith is the monster-in-waiting for the Red Sox. The 6-6 righthander compiled a 2.31 ERA, and struck out 92 batters in 70 innings for the Mariners in 2015. The Red Sox picked up Smith and Roenis Elias in the Wade Miley trade. After missing the start of last season with a forearm strain, he got off to a solid start for the Red Sox last year allowing no runs in 2.2 innings. But his season came to an end on before suffering a season-ending injury in May

He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 24th of last year.

Smith did throw a bullpen session on March 21st. speculates that he could return in early June.

If he can come back at anywhere near his previous performance, he’ll provide a formidable weapon for the Red Sox bullpen.

Roenis Elias

The Red Sox snared Elias from Seattle in the Wade Miley deal. He gave up 11 runs in seven innings. But he’s a lefthander with a low-90’s fastball. He did pitch pretty well in Pawtucket last year, going 10-5 with a 3.66 ERA, and striking out 8 batters per 9 innings.

He had a pretty good spring, before going down with a strained right intercostal muscle suffered in warm-ups before a game against the US National Team on March 9th. It was speculated that he could return before the start of the regular season, but is still on the DL. When healthy, he could provide some bullpen depth, or get some work as a fifth starter.


Josh Rutledge

The career .262 hitter is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring suffered late in Spring Training.

The Red Sox first aquired Rutledge in the Shane Victorino trade back in 2015. This offseason he signed with the Colorado Rockies. The Red Sox reaquired him in the Rule 5 draft. This means that he needs to stay on the active roster (or the disabled list) all season, or be offered back to the Rockies.

He can play all four infield positions, and can be a valuable utility infielder when healthy.

At present, there is no timetable for his return.


David Price Photo by Keith Allison





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Mike Cooney
Mike is a lifelong Boston sports fan. He's got a degree in journalism from Northeastern University, and has been writing about sports in various methods since the mid-1990's. He's gotten to meet Bobby Orr, Luis Tiant, Rich Gedman, Nomar Garciaparra, and once shut out Carlos Pena's two twin brothers in a game of foosball at McCoy Stadium.