The Boston Red Sox have shut down right-handed reliever Matt Barnes for a few days while he recovers from a sore hip that has bothered him for weeks.
In the wake of the bullpen blowing a late lead Friday night, the Boston Red Sox were dealt an even bigger blow. Setup man Matt Barnes has been shut down with a sore hip.
"“He’s been dealing with inflammation in his left hip and grinding it out the last 10-12 days,” Cora said. “And he actually had an MRI yesterday. As of now, we’re going to stay away from him. We have to take care of him and get him healthy and whenever he’s ready he’ll be ready.”"
Barnes hasn’t pitched in a game since Monday in Atlanta when he tossed a scoreless inning in an 8-2 win over the Braves. Cora has been intentionally staying away from him since then, hoping that rest and treatment will be enough to allow his ailing hip to recover.
This explains why Barnes wasn’t called upon when the rest of the bullpen was melting down against the Houston Astros. A spectacular start from David Price was spoiled when Ryan Brasier allowed both inherited runners to score, plus another charged to himself which gave Houston their first lead.
After the Red Sox battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, Joe Kelly gave the lead right back to the Astros. Kelly was shelled for three runs on four hits. He threw a wild pitch that allowed one of those runs to score while allowing Alex Bregman to move up a base, putting him in position to score on a base hit by Tyler White.
That eighth inning with the score tied is normally a spot we would expect to see Barnes. Or he could have bailed out Price in the seventh. Barnes’ stellar 14.19 K/9 rate makes him well suited to escape a jam akin to what the Red Sox faced that inning. The right-hander is holding opposing hitters to a .182 average with men on base and .136 with runners in scoring position.
The Red Sox could have used Barnes in this game, or at least the healthy version who has pitched well for the majority of the season. Barnes is coming off a brutal August in which he allowed 10 earned runs over 9 1/3 innings. He struck out 15 but also walked four.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
Perhaps the hip injury had something to do with his poor August. Based on the 10-12 day timeline provided by Cora, it would seem that Barnes’ hip began bothering him late last month. He was almost certainly dealing with the issue when he coughed up four runs, including a pair of home runs, against the Miami Marlins on August 28. The soreness may have initially cropped up around the same time that Barnes was tagged for two runs against the Tampa Bay Rays two days earlier.
Take away those six runs from when Barnes was presumably fighting through pain on the mound and his month suddenly doesn’t look so terrible.
Barnes had an MRI this week that didn’t reveal anything that would crush Cora’s optimism regarding a relatively quick return. A trip to the disabled list obviously isn’t needed in September when expanded rosters have already allowed the Red Sox to add extra arms to the bullpen. It’s unclear if Barnes would even need to be shut down 10+ days.
The team expects to map out a plan in the coming days to figure out when Barnes can start throwing again. Hopefully they will get their setup man back shortly after.