A second opinion on Steven Wright’s ailing right shoulder from renowned orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache showed no damage beyond the initial diagnosis of bursitis, Red Sox manager John Farrell tells Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. However, the Red Sox still aren’t certain whether the breakout knuckleballer will pitch again this season. “He’s able to pick up a ball when the symptoms he might be feeling are subsided,” said Farrell. “So I can understand and respect the next question of will he return this year. I don’t have that answer yet.”
While some believe that the Sox rushed Wright back from a DL stint — he returned after three weeks and surrendered nine runs in 10 innings over two starts — president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski strongly rejects that notion. “We don’t rush guys back,” said Dombrowski. “We don’t really do that. The doctors felt he was comfortable to (return), he said he was comfortable to do that. No. I’ve never rushed a guy back.”
Wright recently told reporters, including MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffery, that he’s been pitching at about “50 percent” strength since returning from the DL, and while Dombrowski declined to go into specifics on his conversations with Wright, he did say today that Wright did not express that level of severity to the team. “Well, I’m really not going to get into every step of our conversations with the player and all that,” said Dombrowski (via Drellich). “We would never put a player out there that we thought was only 50 percent. … I can’t say it’s a mistake for guys, but I think most pitchers try to pitch through things at times. It just depends what it is.”
The circumstances of Wright’s injury, of course, are somewhat notable as well. Wright didn’t incur the damage to his shoulder while on the mound — on the contrary, he threw a shutout in his last start prior to the injury — but rather on the basepaths after being used as a pinch-runner in the sixth inning of an Aug. 7 game against the Dodgers. Wright dove back into second base when right-hander Joe Blanton spun to throw to the bag and suffered the injury upon hitting the dirt.
The Red Sox, currently in possession of an American League Wild Card spot but also just a half-game out of the division lead, would love to have a healthy Wright back in the mix not only for the remainder of the regular season but also for the postseason roster. The Sox can still turn to David Price, Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz in the event that they reach the divisional series, but Wright, who has a 3.33 ERA in 156 2/3 innings even after the aforementioned drubbing he took in his two most recent outings, certainly would’ve been in the mix as well. In the meantime, the Red Sox turned to Clay Buchholz to start in Wright’s place tonight, and Buchholz has answered the challenge with aplomb so far. He’s through six innings and has yielded just a run on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts.