Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright may never be 100 percent again
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Steven Wright shows concern that his surgically repaired knee may never be 100 percent again.
Questions linger over the future of Steven Wright that even the knuckleball pitcher can’t answer. Wright is in camp with the Boston Red Sox this spring but isn’t quite back to feeling like his old self. It’s possible he never will again.
Wright was sidelined for about a year while recovering from a left knee cartilage restoration procedure that he underwent in May 2017. He landed back on the disabled list in June with knee inflammation and didn’t return until September, at which point he worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the remainder of the regular season. Wright was expected to join his team in the postseason but was a late scratch from the ALDS roster due to knee soreness.
Wright is preparing for the upcoming season but his status for Opening Day remains unclear. No matter how hard he works, there’s concern that he’ll never return to his pre-injury form. According to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Wright confirmed he will wear a knee brace when he pitches this season and acknowledged his doubts about the injury ever being fully behind him.
"“I don’t think I’m ever going to feel 100 percent like I did before I hurt my knee,” Wright said. “But it’s just trying to get as close to that as we can and staying consistent with it.”"
The 34-year old veteran went on to discuss the uncertainties of the rare procedure that he had done on his knee. Dustin Pedroia had the same surgery on his ailing knee but the procedure is relatively unheard of in the baseball world. Wright said this led to a lot of trial and error in terms of rehabbing from the surgery. He’s learned a lot from the experience about what his body can handle so he should be more prepared this season. Wright has a better understanding of his limits and when to minimize activities that could put stress on his knee.
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Wright had a productive season when he was able to take the mound last year. He went 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 53 2/3 innings. Most of his appearance came in relief but he did make four starts. Wright was brilliant in the first three starts, allowing only one earned run over 20 2/3 innings. He was then shelled for 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings during his final start before he went on the disabled list.
His All-Star caliber days from a few years ago may be behind him but Wright is clearly still capable of being effective when healthy. Whether it’s in short spurts out of the bullpen, long relief or the occasional spot start, the versatile right-hander can be utilized in a variety of ways.
Boston’s rotation is loaded with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez. It’s rare that any team makes it through a full season with only five starters though, especially when most of these starters have recent injury concerns. There will be a point where the Red Sox need someone else to temporarily fill in as a starter and Wright should be near the top of the list as long as his knee cooperates.