Red Sox reliever Carson Smith will be placed on the disabled list after an MRI revealed that he has suffered a strain of his flexor mass muscle, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweets. Smith is expected to pitch this year, but there is currently no timetable for his potential return.
Smith, 26, exited Monday’s game after experiencing forearm tightness just five pitches into his outing. As it turns out, that tightness was foreshadowing for a more serious issue. Fortunately, however, the pain was not the result of damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, which could have necessitated Tommy John surgery. Late last month, MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum delved deep into the causes of and warning signs for Tommy John surgery. In his research, Woodrum found that Smith was among the players with a slightly elevated risk of requiring TJ.
The Red Sox acquired Smith this offseason along with southpaw Roenis Elias when they traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to Seattle. Smith was being counted upon for a significant late-inning role, so the Red Sox are obviously less-than-thrilled about today’s news. As Jeff outlined on Monday, there’s still plenty of late-inning depth for Boston, starting with closer Craig Kimbrel plus veterans Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa.
Last year marked Smith’s first full season in the majors. He took the opportunity and ran with it, recording a 2.31 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 across 70 innings.