Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz being sent for MRI, expects to make next start

May 9, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Drew Pomeranz (31) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Drew Pomeranz (31) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz will get an MRI after leaving Sunday’s start with left triceps tightness, although the injury isn’t considered serious.

The last thing that the Boston Red Sox need right now is for another starting pitcher to be sidelined by injury, which is why Drew Pomeranz gave us a bit of a scare on Sunday when he left just before the start of the fourth inning after feeling some discomfort during his warmup tosses.

We would later learn that Pomeranz was removed from the game due to left triceps tightness. He’ll be sent for a precautionary MRI on Monday, but for now he’s still expected to make his next start.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Pomeranz didn’t seem all that concerned about this being a long-term issue.

"“I felt something in warmups, kind of similar to what I felt in spring training, one of those games I came out of,” Pomeranz said to reporters, per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “[It] just kind of stayed there, didn’t go away. We decided it was best to come out of the game then.”"

Manager John Farrell indicated that the team will have to await the results of the MRI before making any decisions about the lefty’s next start, but seemed hopeful that it wasn’t a significant concern after the symptoms subsided later in the day.

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Pomeranz surrendered a pair of runs over his three innings of work. We’re left to wonder if the discomfort that led to his early exit was partially responsible for Pomeranz allowing a season-high three walks, although disappointing outings have almost become the expectation for many fans that still lament last year’s mid-season trade to acquire the All-Star pitcher.

A bloated 5.29 ERA certainly won’t silence his critics, although a look at his game logs shows Pomeranz really hasn’t been all that bad. He’s been roughed up a couple of times but has allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts.

The problem has been that he continuously fails to go deep into games. Pomeranz hasn’t lasted longer than six innings in any of his starts and has now exited with fewer than five innings pitched on three occasions.

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Pomeranz throws a fastball that typically sits in the low-90’s, which is good enough to get by with but won’t blow many hitters away. His knuckle curve is his out pitch, but if he isn’t throwing it for strikes then hitters will ignore it. If he doesn’t have that pitch working for him then he resorts to nibbling on the corners with his fastball, which hasn’t been generating many swings-and-misses. If the hitter has two strikes on him and knows he can’t make solid contact on a pitch painting the corner then they often end up fouling the ball off, driving up his pitch count.

If Pomeranz manages to harness his off-speed pitches or learn to invite weak contact instead of trying to put them away with pitches they easily foul off, he has the tools to become a reliable starting pitcher again. He’s struggled through various injuries during his tenure in Boston that have prevented him from consistently rounding into form, but if healthy there’s no reason why he can’t return to that level.

Hopefully this latest setback turns out to be as minor as it seems.

With David Price nearing a return, Pomeranz will essentially become Boston’s No. 5 starter. When healthy, he’s capable of being more than sufficient in that role, as he’s managed to keep the team in the game through most of his starts. His critics will continue to label him a bust based on the high price that the team shelled out to acquire him, but not when viewed through the spectrum of the role he’s being asked to fill at the back end of the rotation. Not many teams have a fifth starter better than Pomeranz.

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There’s still some untapped potential evident from a pitcher that has shown flashes of brilliance before. Pomeranz certainly has more upside than the options toiling away in Triple-A Pawtucket, so the Red Sox can ill-afford to lose him for an extended period give the other injuries that have depleted their rotation depth.