Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh is hoping to get back on the mound ASAP
The Boston Red Sox recently signed Collin McHugh despite the pitcher being injured. However, the righty is optimistic that he’ll be back on the mound soon.
It’s no secret that the Red Sox are in dire need of some help in the pitching department. This past week the team announced the signing of free-agent righty Collin McHugh in hopes that he could add some depth to the roster. Unfortunately, the former Astro is on the shelf due to an elbow issue in his throwing arm.
This has been a painful winter for Red Sox Nation as we’ve seen veteran lefty David Price get shipped off to Los Angeles while Chris Sale continues to flirt with Tommy John surgery. A pair of small positives have come in the way of Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi being lights-out so far this spring. So it was no surprise that Chaim Bloom went shopping with some of his newly freed-up cash.
In the past few weeks, it’s come to light that Boston will be implementing the opener system for their rotation, which Bloom oversaw while working in Tampa. Last week he held a meeting with the coaching staff to break down the ins and outs of how to properly execute the plan. With McHugh having significant experience as both a starter and reliever it feels like this will be his intended use once healthy.
That’s the key part of that sentence though, once he’s healthy. When exactly will that be? Nobody knows, at least not yet. Having only been in Fort Myers for a few days it’s unlikely that the brain trust has a full plan in place yet for his recovery and return. If you ask McHugh, he’d like to suit up and get on the mound as soon as possible.
"“Obviously, the sooner the better, and that’s what I’m working towards,” McHugh said. “I came into camp and signed thinking we’re really close and ready to get going soon. For me, I’m always itching and ready to get out there.”"
I appreciate the mentality that Collin has as far as his eagerness to get on the field but I’m also wary of injured pitchers right now. I mean, it feels like Sale was probably having some elbow issues all along and that pesky pneumonia just happened to come along at the right time.
I fully believe he was sick, but you don’t go from missing time due to illness to possible Tommy John in the matter of a week. So I’m not the most thrilled about adding another injured pitcher to the mix.
I’d much rather the training staff take their time with McHugh and be as thorough as possible with his recovery. Granted the pitching prospects on the free-agent market aren’t the greatest but there are some viable cheap options still on the board. Hell, Chaim could make a call to former Red Sox hurlers Clay Buchholz and Andrew Cashner for quick Band-Aid solutions.
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Both the starting rotation and the bullpen are in need of some TLC and McHugh gives Ron Roenicke the opportunity to help both. Again, in my eyes, his best role would be to eat some innings on the days where the Red Sox have to apply the opener. Not only could he start the game and chew away a few of the early innings but he could also be the next man in line. The versatility that he brings to the table is why Bloom signed him.
The righty has made it known that he’d prefer a defined role in the pitching staff so he can best support the team.
"“I think every pitcher would tell you they thrive when they have a routine,” he said."
We saw last season when Alex Cora was experimenting with his setup pitchers and closers that neither were successful. I would prefer that once Roenicke and his team have a plan for McHugh that they stick with it. If they bounce him back and forth between starting and relief he may never grab a true foothold.
Boston needs more pitching help and they need it as soon as possible. After a strong start from Martin Perez today the bullpen nearly blew the game late. Getting Collin McHugh healthy and in a role that will allow him to support the staff is key for Boston’s success. The right-hander has had some mixed results over the last few years but having a veteran on the staff is always a plus. Hopefully, he and the training staff can create a plan that gets him on the mound sooner rather than later.