9:40pm: The club has received promising initial indications on Ramirez’s shoulder, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports on Twitter. Manager John Farrell called Ramirez “day to day,” saying that it is not yet clear that he’ll need a DL stint.
8:24pm: Red Sox outfielder Hanley Ramirez suffered what the team is calling a sprained left shoulder during tonight’s action. He crashed into the left field wall attempting to make a catch down the line.
It is obviously far too soon to know how severe the injury is, but the somewhat innocuous terminology (“sprain”) could potentially belie its seriousness. Shoulder sprains come in different grades, of course. And Ramirez has already undergone two procedures on his left shoulder.
The 31-year-old has hit a robust .283/.340/.609 over 103 plate appearances this year, providing the middle-of-the-order presence that Boston hoped for. While his poorly-rated work in his first season as an outfielder has held down his value, the club will certainly miss his bat for whatever time he misses.
Of course, the Red Sox are particularly loaded in the outfield, even with Shane Victorino already on the DL. Allen Craig and Daniel Nava are already on the big league roster, while Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. are patrolling the outfield at Triple-A Pawtucket. Then again, the Red Sox promised Ramirez $88MM over four years in hopes that he would help anchor a potent lineup, and every game counts in a tight division.
If the injury keeps Ramirez down for a significant stretch, the biggest impact, in the end, could be on Boston’s flexibility to deal over the summer. Outfield depth seemed among the more likely places from which the club could draw in adding pieces to its rotation, which has struggled to a 5.66 ERA.