Red Sox pitcher Drew Pomeranz diagnosed with left flexor strain
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz is in danger of missing the start of the season due to a left forearm flexor strain.
A Boston Red Sox rotation that has already been riddled with injuries this spring can add Drew Pomeranz to the list of walking wounded.
The lefty exited his first spring training start on Friday after he felt forearm soreness during the second inning. Pomeranz brushed off his early departure as precautionary but the team needed to have him checked out to be sure.
The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato reported the next day that an MRI revealed Pomeranz is dealing with a left forearm flexor strain. The diagnosis doesn’t seem to have surprised or worried him, yet the expectation is that Pomeranz will need some time off to recover.
Pomeranz was sidelined at the start of last season with a similar left forearm flexor strain. He managed to return after spending the minimum 10-day stint on the disabled list. The difference was that Pomeranz got off to a late start last spring following a stem-cell injection in his elbow.
We must also note that every other pitcher who suffered a flexor strain last year missed at least six weeks with the injury. Pomeranz may have been the exception last year but we can’t presume he’ll recover as quickly this time.
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Opening Day is less than four weeks away, putting the availability of Pomeranz in jeopardy. The Red Sox will need a fifth starter the first turn through the rotation, starting on April 2 in Miami. This is problematic for a rotation that may be without Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright to begin the year. The back end of the rotation was already in question before the Red Sox had to worry about potentially replacing Pomeranz.
Off days should allow the Red Sox to skip their fifth starter the second time through the rotation. That spot wouldn’t be needed again until April 14, which is six weeks from today. Based on the timeline of other pitchers who suffered this injury last year, it’s feasible Pomeranz could return in time to make that start. Relying on a spot starter to fill in for Pomeranz only once to begin the year would be a fortune outcome for the Red Sox.
Pomeranz is coming off a career year in which he won 17 games while posting a 3.32 ERA and 9.0 K/9. If he can replicate those numbers this year he’ll set himself up to cash in big in free agency next winter. Of course, he’ll need to stay healthy to do that.
Next: Battle for fifth rotation spot
While a spring injury to kick off his contract year is hardly ideal, Pomeranz doesn’t seem concerned. Neither does anyone in the Red Sox organization. So maybe we shouldn’t be too worried about it either.