This hasn’t been a banner day of news for veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright. The Red Sox released Wright this afternoon in lieu of paying him a projected $1.5MM next season, and now it’s up in the air whether the right-hander will pitch again until 2021. Wright told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
The need for a TJ procedure is the latest rough development for the 35-year-old Wright, whose stock has plummeted since an All-Star showing with the Red Sox in 2016. A litany of injuries and off-field issues have troubled Wright dating back to then, as he combined for just 84 innings of 4.71 ERA ball from 2017-19. He’s a two-time suspension recipient who sat for 15 games in 2018 after violating the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, and then missed 80 contests this year for a failed PED test.
After Wright came off the restricted list June 25, opposing batters tattooed him for six earned runs on 11 hits, three HRs and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. Wright then dealt with toe and elbow problems that prevented him from pitching past July 13, which will go down as his last appearance for a while. He’s now on the open market as someone who can only hope for a minor league contract, though it seems doubtful he’ll sign anytime soon.