August 24, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) walks off the mound with the training staff due to an apparent injury during the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Addition of New Medical Director Signals More Change For The Better in Boston


After a record setting, injury-plagued 2012 the Boston Red Sox have hired a Medical Director. In 2012 Boston put 27 players on the the DL 34 times, a whopping 1,729 days of missed work. Prayers are indeed answered. Even before I was writing for BSI and writing my own blog I was pitching a fit over Boston’s appalling frequency and duration injury stats.

The intent is rock solid. The way in which it happened is curious. It’s not like Boston didn’t have a Medical Director. In fact, the Sox had a Medical Director into the 2012 season but seemingly, inexplicably eliminated the position. Dr. Larry Ronan, who has served as the team’s head internist since 2005 will be promoted to Medical Director in alignment with further restructuring within the organization and indeed the entire medical staff. To be perfectly cold and calculating about it, athletes are products that drive the franchise economic engine. When they’re down fans lose interest and butts aren’t in seats.

Irrespective of Boston’s purported billion game sellout streak – that’s another post for another time – even if fans are still filling the seats what’s the use if the club is mortally wounded by injuries that simply won’t allow them to compete.

Boston has had many other problems to deal with over the past two years; excessive injury simply exacerbates the sore.

“There has been a restructuring of the entire medical operation,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told ESPN’s Gorden Edes. “We’ve been attempting to do so the last couple of years.

“There will be some significant promotions and greater roles for some people who have been around for a while and lesser roles for a few others.

“I’d rather not comment on it until we’ve presented the entire package.”

As with player and coaching moves during the offseason, the subtle changes afoot regarding the medical staff when combined with the aforementioned moves are impacting the organization in a major way. This decidedly not your 2010-2012 Red Sox.

Ronan replaces Mike Reinold, who was Boston’s former head physical therapist who was promoted to Medical Director a year ago last January.

If you have watched the moves, the position eliminations and position reinstatements with new personnel it’s clear that Boston wanted to make these changes without impugning the integrity of former staffers. It has been reported that Reinold is being considered for another position within the organization, lending further credence to the easing out of Reinold and  moving in of Rosen.

I applaud these moves. Epic failure – let’s not try to put lipstick on the 2012 pig – has to met with steely resolve to turn things around. You can argue with the moves. What you can’t argue with is the sincerity and willingness to shake up an organization badly in need of a house cleaning.

Doctor, doctor give me the news
I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you
No pill’s gonna cure my ill
I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you
- Bad Case of Loving You, Robert Palmer 

 

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