Red Sox fans can exhale after Tyler O’Neill injury update

Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

As Rafael Devers and Tyler O'Neill closed in on a fly ball on April 15, the Boston Red Sox's season flashed before fans' eyes.

It's safe to say the Red Sox's bench is thin just a few weeks into the campaign. With Rob Refsnyder and Vaughn Grissom on rehab assignments, Trevor Story out for the season and Devers and Enmanuel Valdez a bit banged up but still able to play, all fans could do was hope for the best-case scenario when Devers and O'Neill crashed into each other in shallow left field on Patriots' Day.

After their collision, Devers remained in the game but O'Neill was pulled. The left fielder's glasses flew apart after they met with Devers' head and he was escorted off the field visibly bloodied. He quickly received stitches for his superficial wounds after the game, but O'Neill still had to go through concussion protocol before he could be reinstated to the lineup.

Luckily for the Red Sox, O'Neill is concussion-free.

Tyler O'Neill clears concussion protocol, expected to reenter Red Sox lineup Thursday

The slugger has been a difference-maker on both sides of the ball for Boston early in the 2024 slate. He's tied for the most home runs in MLB with seven and his defense has brought improvements to the Red Sox's outfield.

O'Neill will still sit for two games, though. The outfielder is not in the Red Sox's April 16 lineup against the Guardians and manager Alex Cora has already said he will not play on the 17. The skipper expects O'Neill to be able to play Thursday for the final game of Boston's home series with Cleveland.

If he did need to miss significant time, the Red Sox outfield may have been in trouble. The infield has been so banged up that defensive savant Ceddanne Rafaela has been used in the infield when David Hamilton needs a rest. Without O'Neill in the mix, the Sox may have to throw Masataka Yoshida in left field, and after his performance last season, the Red Sox could do without him playing defense.

But O'Neill could be back later in the week, and the Red Sox organization and its fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

More Red Sox reads: