Reliever Tyler Thornburg tops the Red Sox’ list of concerns as the 2017 season approaches, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Thornburg has dealt with dead arm for most of Spring Training so far. The Red Sox gave up a fairly hefty package of talent that included infielder Travis Shaw and prospect Mauricio Dubon to get Thornburg, but so far Thornburg’s Red Sox tenure is off to a rough start — he misinterpreted the Red Sox’ prescribed offseason training regimen, according to Cafardo, and now will probably have to start the season on the disabled list. The Red Sox might end up missing longtime late-inning reliever Koji Uehara, who they allowed to depart for the Cubs. Cafardo notes that Thornburg could join a list of Red Sox relief trade acquisitions who disappointed due to injury, including Carson Smith, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey — although, of course, Hanrahan and Bailey weren’t acquired under the Red Sox’ current front office, and it’s way, way too early to write Thornburg off. Thornburg pitched an apparently successful bullpen session on Saturday. Here’s more from the AL East.
- Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson makes his Spring Training debut today playing DH against Minnesota, John Lott of the Athletic tweets. Donaldson suffered a calf injury near the start of Spring Training and has been out the past month. Donaldson’s return isn’t the only bit of good news for the Jays. Second baseman Devon Travis, who has missed time after having offseason knee surgery, also appears to be returning to health — Lott tweets that Travis expects to make his official spring debut later this week.
- One player whose injury prognosis isn’t so sunny is Rays reliever Brad Boxberger, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times notes (all Twitter links). Manager Kevin Cash says Boxberger’s lat injury isn’t improving as quickly as the team had anticipated, and that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. Boxberger struggled with an oblique injury during a poor 2016 season in which he posted a 4.81 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 7.0 BB/9 in just 24 1/3 innings. His absence could create an opportunity for recent waiver claim Jumbo Diaz, who’s about to return to the Rays after pitching in the World Baseball Classic, according to Topkin.