As spring training gets rolling in earnest, news continues to trickle out about various players’ health situations. We’ll collect the latest here.
- Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has a stress fracture in his lower back, the team told reporters (including Chris Cotillo of MassLive). The organization is comfortable with Verdugo’s progression but unsurprisingly plans to take things slowly in the early going, Cotillo notes. Interim manager Ron Roenicke acknowledged to reporters (including Cotillo) that “if everything goes right, he still might not be ready for Opening Day.” That’ll surely raise some eyebrows among Sox fans, but the organization was fully aware of the issue at the time they made the Mookie Betts trade, reiterates Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Surgery won’t be necessary, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, but this is the firmest indication we’ve heard yet that Verdugo is likely to start the season on the shelf. Of course, Boston finalized a deal with Kevin Pillar yesterday. He figures to take on a significant role if Verdugo ends up sidelined.
- The prognosis seems to be better for Twins center fielder Byron Buxton. Buxton hit off a tee today and hopes to progress to soft toss by next week, per various reports (including from Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com and Aaron Gleeman of the Athletic). Per Gleeman, manager Rocco Baldelli expressed optimism earlier this week that Buxton could return from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2019 season by Opening Day.
- Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is working back from a flexor injury and could be delayed in spring training, the team told reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Mikolas had some recurring flexor soreness last season, Goold adds, although the hope was that a postseason PRP injection and rest would alleviate the issue. With the soreness having cropped back up, Mikolas is likely ticketed for an MRI, Goold reports. Notably, manager Mike Shildt stressed to Goold that the injury is likely not indicative of any damage to the UCL, which would obviously have been quite problematic. It doesn’t seem there’s overwhelming cause for concern just yet. Of course, it’s not ideal for a key member of the St. Louis rotation to be dealing with arm soreness this early in the season. (UPDATE: Mikolas underwent an MRI this morning, Goold tweets. The exam did not reveal any ligament damage, tweets Anne Rogers of MLB.com).
- Angels reliever Ty Buttrey suffered an intercostal strain and will be out for one or two weeks, manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com). The club still anticipates he’ll be a full-go by Opening Day. The 26-year-old posted a 3.98 ERA with a strong combination of strikeouts (27.2%) and walks (7.4%) in 2019. The former Red Sox prospect figures to be a key bullpen piece for Maddon in the latter’s first year at the helm in Anaheim.