Red Sox depth takes hit after lefty’s elbow injury scare, O'Neill, Jansen updates

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have been bitten by the injury bug a fair few times this preseason. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, many of the ailments have sidelined members of their already stressed pitching staff.

Chris Murphy, one of Boston's depth pitching options fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster, has been pulled from activity due to issues with his throwing elbow. He will undergo an MRI on Monday and manager Alex Cora hopes to share his results on March 19.

Murphy has been having a fine spring for Boston. He's posted a 3.86 ERA in 9.1 innings and he's logged 11 strikeouts. Some hitters have been getting the better of Murphy, though, as he's given up four walks, two homers and four earned runs.

Despite the runs he's allowed, Murphy still has a decent shot at making the Red Sox's Opening Day roster if he's healthy by March 28. He's one of the only lefty options on Boston's staff alongside Brennan Bernardino, Lucas Luetge and Joely Rodríguez — Bernardino is given for the roster after his performances last year.

A potential injury to Chris Murphy is rough for the Red Sox bullpen, Kenley Jansen and Tyler O'Neill's returns from injury delayed

Other Red Sox are not recovering as quickly from minor injuries as the club would've hoped, and it may impact their readiness heading into Opening Day.

Tyler O'Neill didn't travel with the team to the Dominican Republic Series last weekend, as he was sidelined with calf tightness. He played in Boston's March 12 game against the Cardinals, but O'Neill has not made an appearance in a week.

O'Neill's calf tightness is not seen as serious by the team and his new expected return date is March 19 in the Sox's matchup with the Rays. He is expected to be able to start Opening Day, but any further delay in his return may prevent him from being ready on the 28th.

Kenley Jansen's return to action has also taken longer than originally expected. He appeared in Boston's March 15 game against the Twins, but he let up two home runs before he could record three outs and he was swiftly pulled.

Now, Jansen is battling lower back tightness and has been pulled from the Red Sox's March 18th roster. Boston scratched Jansen from the lineup out of caution rather than real concern and he is expected to be able to pitch Opening Day.

Despite all the injuries the Red Sox are dealing with, the team has still been playing quite well. Hopefully, they can continue their level of play into the regular season and can be even better by the time everyone is back at full strength.

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