- Red Sox southpaw David Price faced hitters Saturday for the first time since suffering an elbow injury in early March, writes Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald. Price tossed 30 pitches over two simulated innings, which represented “a quality workday for him,” said manager John Farrell. The plan is for the 31-year-old to throw a light bullpen session Monday and another sim game Thursday.
- Red Sox reliever Carson Smith has had a setback in his recovery from 2016 Tommy John surgery, as Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com writes. Smith was throwing off a mound a couple of weeks ago but has “had to slow down,” manager John Farrell told reporters. Smith is long tossing from 110 feet but is now two weeks removed from his most recent mound session. Boston had been targeting a June return for Smith, but a July return is now more realistic, per McCaffrey. The Red Sox have had rough luck when trading for potential setup arms; in addition to losing Smith for more than a year due to Tommy John surgery just months after trading for him, the team has yet to reap any benefit from its trade to acquire Tyler Thornburg this offseason, as Thornburg has been sidelined all season by a right shoulder impingement. CSNNE.com’s Evan Drellich tweeted recently that Farrell said on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Thornburg essentially needs to progress through Spring Training all over again, which would normally consist of seven to 10 appearances.
The Red Sox have claimed infielder Chase d’Arnaud off waivers from the Braves, per a club announcement. He had been designated for assignment and, evidently, placed on outright waivers by Atlanta.
To clear 40-man space, Boston bumped righty Carson Smith to the 60-day DL. He is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and it wouldn’t seem as if the placement says much about any changes to his timeline to return.
The 30-year-old d’Arnaud represents a utility option for the Sox, who are struggling to cover with third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the DL and second bagger Dustin Pedroia also ailing. Over 262 career trips to the plate at the game’s highest level, d’Arnaud owns only a .245/.317/.335 batting line. Though he isn’t much with the bat, the right-handed hitter does have experience playing all over the field.
1:00pm: Manager John Farrell provided some details in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, as Evan Drellich of CSNNE.com recounts. The injury was to the “medial side of the right knee,” said Farrell, who says that significant swelling forced the DL move. It is still not known how long of an absence is to be expected.
11:07am: The Red Sox have placed third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the 10-day DL with a right knee sprain, the club has announced. He’ll be replaced by infielder Josh Rutledge, who has been activated from his own DL stint.
Sandoval, 30, has produced uneven results thus far upon returning from a long layoff. Through 67 plate appearances, he is hitting .213/.269/.377 with three home runs. And there are some questions about his glovework, with four errors on his ledger and poor grades from advanced metrics (in quite a small sample).
Still, there are some reasons for hope with the bat. Sandoval’s .164 isolated slugging mark matches his work from 2012, which would seem to be a positive development. But it remains to be seen whether he can right the ship in the on-base department. Sandoval is suffering from a .217 BABIP despite making plenty of hard contact, though his strikeout rate is up to 19.4% on a 14.6% swinging-strike rate — well above his career figures in both areas.
While Boston will be glad to get Rutledge back, the hope had been to see both players on the roster at the same time. The switch-hitting Sandoval has continued to struggle badly against left-handed pitching, making the pair a theoretically useful platoon match. (Rutledge hits from the right side, though he hasn’t carried noticeable splits historically.)
Instead, the Sox will lean on Rutledge — along with left-handed-hitting utilityman Marco Hernandez — to cover third base during Sandoval’s absence. It’s not clear at this point just how long the organization expects to be without the veteran.
- Red Sox left-hander David Price will throw a 45- to 50-pitch bullpen session Monday as he tries to work back from forearm trouble, per Ben Standing of MLB.com. Price still seems a ways off from making his 2017 debut, but a positive showing Monday would put him in position to face live hitters sometime soon. “Once we get through [Monday’s] work session and kind of begin to map out a little more of a structure on a calendar, I think we’re at that point [of facing batters],” said manager John Farrell. “Anytime you get to the number of pitches thrown that will be tomorrow, you can start to foresee a progression to hitters and ultimately to games, but we don’t have that in place right now.”
Dustin Pedroia will undergo an MRI on his left ankle and knee on Monday, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey and The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham). After suffering the injury on a hard slide from Manny Machado on Friday, Pedroia sat out Saturday’s game and is also not in Sunday’s lineup, as Farrell said the swelling around Pedroia’s lower leg area hasn’t yet subsided. While the MRI is being performed “just to rule anything out,” according to Farrell, it’s worth noting that Pedroia underwent surgery on that same knee to remove part of his meniscus last October.
- There’s another update on Red Sox lefty David Price, whose increasingly lengthy layoff has left the club without one of its best pitchers. Skipper John Farrell acknowledged that Price has dealt with some soreness that led to a bit of a slow-down in his effort to ramp things up, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. But Price was able to long toss “with some intensity” today, per the report, and will throw a pen session tomorrow. Still, there’s no timetable at this point for Price to return.
- Red Sox righty Tyler Thornburg has yet to progress to the point that he’s able to take the mound, manager John Farrell said today (via Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com, on Twitter). It’s not clear whether he’s making much progress, but it seems he is still long tossing in an effort to rebuild lost shoulder strength. At present, it seems as if there’s no clear timeline for the reliever to appear in the majors for the first time with his new team.
- Meanwhile, the Red Sox seem to be slowing the rehab pace of lefty David Price, as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. It’s not believed to be related to any setbacks, but plans of letting Price face live hitters appear to be on hold for at least another week, per the report.
Should Boyer make it to Boston’s MLB roster, the Red Sox will be the eighth team Boyer has suited up with, and 2017 will mark his 11th season as a big leaguer. The 35-year-old signed a minors deal with the Braves earlier this winter but was released during Spring Training.
Boyer posted a 3.95 ERA, 3.5 K/9 and 1.53 K/BB rate over 66 innings out of the Brewers bullpen last season. The soft-contact and ground-ball specialist (Boyer has a 51.9% career grounder rate) has long been able to generate good results despite a lack of strikeouts, as Travis Sawchik observed in a piece for Fangraphs last January. Since making a comeback to the majors three years ago, Boyer has a 3.31 ERA over 171 1/3 innings for the Brewers, Twins and Padres, despite only amassing 88 strikeouts in that stretch.
A grounder-heavy arsenal would seem like a good fit at Fenway Park, and Boyer gives the Sox some extra relief depth. The Red Sox have three notable relievers (Tyler Thornburg, Roenis Elias and Carson Smith) on the disabled list.
- Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., on the DL with a right knee sprain, could return as early as Friday, reports Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com. The 2016 All-Star is first slated to play five innings in center with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and then nine Wednesday, per manager John Farrell. Bradley hasn’t been in Boston’s lineup since April 8, leaving Chris Young to fill in during his absence. Young has handled left field, thus shifting Andrew Benintendi to center.