Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor working his way back from COVID IL
After a nice relaxing night off from the ever stressful life of being a member of Red Sox Nation, Boston is back on our screens tonight. As has become a regular practice for the team, they’ll be heading to the Trop with the definition of a miserable bullpen. We heard last week that there could be some support on the way as Josh Taylor has been working his way back to the team, and he’s more than ready.
The young southpaw is entering his sophomore season and was dealt a tough hand with a positive COVID test ahead of summer camp. Taylor was asymptomatic though and was lucky to avoid the symptoms that his fellow lefty, Eduardo Rodriguez, went through.
Even though he never showed signs of the virus he had to quarantine for two weeks and pass numerous tests to punch his ticket back to the squad. He’s been in Pawtucket with the rest of the pool players getting his arm back into mid-season form.
Taylor spoke about his positive test and the road back to the bullpen during a media call on Monday. Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com recapped the pitcher’s thoughts on his situation and what he’s been doing to make sure he’s ready when the Red Sox make the call.
“It definitely came as a surprise to me,” Taylor said on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “I was asymptomatic so obviously I had no idea what was going on. The fact I tested positive, it threw me off.”
When E-Rod spoke about his symptoms and what he went through while he had COVID, it’s a positive that Taylor didn’t have to go through that. The Red Sox have had some pretty poor pitching performances and it would be great if they could get one of their most trusted arms back. Even though 2019 was his rookie year, the lefty quickly worked his way into Alex Cora’s inner circle of trusted arms in the bullpen.
A 2-2 record with a 3.04 ERA in 47.1 innings was a shining spot in the bullpen in 2019 when it felt like every other night we were seeing games get blown late. He also posted a stellar 62/16 K/BB ratio that was a big reason he jumped to the core four relievers with Marcus Walden, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman. On most nights, any combination of those four could get the job done when called upon.
For 2020, it’s hard to tell when Taylor may get to rejoin the bullpen but it’s a massive boost to the process that he’s throwing and is looking sharp since coming back to camp. Having spent the majority of his time stuck in a hotel since having to quarantine, Taylor, talks about the mental toll that it took on him to not be able to be with his teammates.
“The mental part of it was tough, too,” Taylor said. “You come in ready to go, you’re ready to throw right away, having taken the two weeks off, trying to find a way to keep yourself ready.
The lefty is stuck on the sidelines and has to watch as his team continues to struggle on the field. As the Red Sox continue to march out random pitcher after random pitcher, Taylor is stuck in Rhode Island watching from afar. For now, he’s doing whatever he can to get as ready as possible so he can hit the ground running when Ron Roenicke decides to bring him back to the big club.
“It’s weird,” Taylor said. “I’m watching every game, cheering for the team. It’s just tough seeing something go on and me sitting back saying, ‘I wish there was something I could do.’ I know my time is going to come. Hopefully sooner rather than later I’ll be out there to help the team.”
Boston’s bullpen is in dire need of fresh blood so having Taylor on the comeback trail is a much-needed sight. Time is running out pretty damn quick for the Red Sox in 2020 and if they want to make it to the postseason they’ll need some help. Having Josh Taylor back on the mound could give the bullpen a shot in the arm as he’s more than reliable and can give the team quality outings.