The Red Sox need a miracle to sneak into the playoffs, but they haven’t given up yet.
Heath Hembree will undergo a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to shortcut an elbow injury and return to pitch for the Sox before this season ends.
The hard-throwing reliever had a 2.51 ERA on June 10, his last outing before he hit the injured list for the first time this year. He has a 9.00 ERA ever since. He’s back on the injured list again with right lateral elbow inflammation.
The PRP injection “is not on the inside part of the elbow, it’s on the outside part of the elbow,” manager Alex Cora said.
That is significant because “it’s not his ligament,” Cora said. “It’s not like, the reddest of red flags, I guess.”
Hembree’s velocity has been down 2 to 3 mph since he first hit the injured list in June and clearly hasn’t been right.
Pitchers who receive PRP injections often need surgery down the road, but circumvent that option with a quicker plan to return to the field.
“We’ll see but we expect him to pitch this season,” Cora said.
WRIGHT MAKES A VISIT
Knuckleballer Steven Wright would appear less likely to return this year after it was announced on Tuesday that he’ll visit Dr. James Andrews, famed orthopedic surgeon well known for performing Tommy John surgeries.
Wright has been trying to come back from the same knee surgery that may have ended Dustin Pedroia’s career, but has since run into arm problems as well.
“Throughout the season, his knee was good, but his arm kind of like, he felt like he could pitch but he wasn’t at his best,” Cora said. “He played catch the other day. He didn’t feel too comfortable so we’re going to send him down there and see Dr. Andrews to see if there’s anything going on.”
Wright’s elbow has become problematic, Cora said.
He didn’t make his season debut until June 26 and made just six relief appearances with an 8.53 ERA before he was placed back on the injured list in mid-July.
RARE DAY OFF
Giving their best player a day off in August when they’re fighting for relevance in the Wild Card race, the Red Sox showed on Tuesday that they’re not changing an approach that worked in 2018.
Xander Bogaerts needed this one, Cora said.
The Sox’ shortstop has started in 111 of the team’s 115 games this season. Only the Oakland A’s’ Marcus Semien has started more games at shortstop this season (114).
“He’s been playing a lot,” Cora said of Bogaerts, who was 0-for-15 in the four-game set vs.t he Yankees over the weekend. “Yesterday after they scored in the seventh or the eighth, you could see he was dragging.”
Maintaining some built-in rest is key, Cora has believed.
“With injuries and moves and all that stuff, it’s hard to give guys a rest,” he said. “I think that you have to be realistic too. They may need that for us to pull this off. We need them fresh. So we see the opportunity and go from there.
“Saturday the plan was to give one of these guys the second game off but we took them out early enough they were able to play two. And then we had the night game. But we’re very cautious about it. I think the schedule is going to help us out towards the second part of the month but for now we have to be sure we’re cautious and keep them fresh.”
J.D. Martinez (back) returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing Monday’s game.
Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham, who tortured Chris Sale with two home runs off him on Opening Day in Seattle, was handed an 80-game suspension after testing positive for Stanozolol.
Brock Holt spent time with a Jimmy Fund patient and the patient’s family during batting practice, as he does every Tuesday as part of the “Brock’s Stars” program. Holt also provides the family with tickets for the game.