In pregame scrum before tonight’s ALCS game six, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters that reliever Hirokazu Sawamura is dealing with a hamstring injury was potentially going to be removed from the roster. (Twitter links from Chris Cotillo of MassLive and Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.) However, Ian Browne of MLB.com later relayed word from Cora that Sawamura will be sticking around.
The Red Sox have their backs against the wall, as they are down 3-2 in the ALCS and will have to win in Houston tonight and tomorrow in order to survive. The health and effectiveness of every pitcher on the staff will be integral to their success in that regard. News of this hamstring issue is certainly concerning, though the fact that Sawamura has held his roster spot implies that the club still feels he’s a better option than bringing in a fresh arm, such as Matt Barnes. Sawamura has been a solid contributor out of the pen this year, as he had an ERA of 3.06 over 53 innings in the regular season, with a strikeout rate of 26.2% and 13.7% walk rate. He wasn’t on the team roster for the ALDS but has appeared three times in the ALCS so far, logging two innings in total.
Other injury notes…
- Chris McCosky of The Detroit News relays some updates on a few Tigers prospects from the Arizona Fall League. Infielders Spencer Torkelson and Ryan Kreidler will both miss the remainder of the league due to an ankle injury and calf injury, respectively. Meanwhile, outfielder Riley Greene has completed his concussion protocol. It had already been announced last week that Greene would miss the AFL because of a concussion sustained at the end of the Triple-A season. For a Tigers club that has been rebuilding in recent seasons, their prospects are incredibly important to turning the corner into being competitive, and that includes these three. MLB Pipeline has Torkelson, Greene and Kreidler as the club’s first-, second- and tenth-best prospects. Baseball America has the same 1-2 punch at the top but has Kreidler at 12th. FanGraphs also starts out with Torkelson and Greene at the top but has Kreidler at 25th. All three players reached Triple-A this season for at least 40 games, meaning they are right on the doorstep and knocking on the door of the majors.
- Rays’ righty Yonny Chirinos won’t be ready for next year’s opening day, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Chirinos has been out of action for more than year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2020, but has suffered a setback that will keep him out even longer. Topkin’s report says that the hurler fractured his elbow last month and that the best case scenario for his recovery would be for him to be on a rehab assignment in April or May. Before this extended absence, Chirinos was looking like he could be a foundational piece for the Rays. From 2018 to 2020, he threw 234 1/3 innings with an ERA of 3.65. Even without Chirinos, the rotation should be in decent shape, with the presence of arms such as Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Ryan Yarbrough, Luis Patino, Shane Baz, Josh Fleming, Brendan McKay and Dietrich Enns. The Rays have never had an opening day payroll higher than $77MM, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates their payroll for next year to already be above $70MM. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for reinforcements, though they will surely non-tender a few of their arbitration-eligible players and bring that down a tad. The Rays are also always a candidate to figure out a way to move some money around, such as the contract of Kevin Kiermaier, whose name has been floated in trade talks for years and is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, valued just over $12MM.