Red Sox injury update: Carson Smith completes his second rehab outing

BOSTON, MA - MAY 09: Carson Smith
BOSTON, MA - MAY 09: Carson Smith /

His second rehab appearance went much better for the Boston Red Sox reliever.

In his second rehab appearance, Carson Smith tossed a scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. The Boston Red Sox reliever is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, a procedure he underwent in May of 2016.

A scoreless inning sounds great on paper, but the results aren’t yet where the Red Sox need them to be. He did record a strikeout and allowed just one batter to reach base via a walk, but his velocity is still lower than he’s accustomed to. Smith topped out at around 91 mph Tuesday night. For reference, he was averaging about 93 mph before surgery. Reports from those inside the stadium also indicated that he wasn’t missing many bats, inducing just one whiff on the strikeout.

Still, recovering from this type of procedure is a long process and anytime we get a report that mentions Smith’s name without also mentioning his elbow exploding we have to be encouraged. His performance Tuesday was also infinitely better than his first rehab appearance. He walked three of the four batters he faced before getting yanked in his first outing on Saturday.

There’s definitely progress to be made for Smith, but the results are positive and that’s something to build on moving forward. He’ll still have time to work on his mechanics in the minors and get back to a place where he feels comfortable. Once he is, though, look out.

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Smith posted a 32.4% strikeout rate, 2.12 FIP, and 2.1 fWAR in 2015, his last full season in the majors. It’s unreasonable to expect those numbers once he makes his way back to the Red Sox roster, but the value of adding another pitcher of his quality to an already effective bullpen cannot be understated. With the addition of Addison Reed and the return of Joe Kelly in the eighth inning, the Red Sox bullpen has the potential to be as dominant as any in baseball once Smith is healthy.

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In the midst of a seven game win streak, everything is looking up for the Red Sox – including the recovery of one of their best relievers. The club hasn’t announced when he’ll pitch again, but they’re sure to give him more time in the minors. He still has some progress to make, but Tuesday’s outing was overwhelmingly positive.