Stephen Drew, who sustained a concussion on a hit-by-pitch against the Twins a week ago, is still suffering from concussion symptoms. This not only means he hasn't been cleared to play again, but also that he hasn't even been tested to see if he's able to play -- that's a step that isn't taken until the symptoms clear up. While the story has been that he's feeling better and his mild concussion is subsiding, it's not entirely gone.
Concussions are concerning until they no longer exist, as Justin Morneau, himself the recipient of a mild concussion, can tell you: Morneau ended up missing the better part of two seasons due to concussions, and when he returned for a full season in 2012, wasn't quite the same at the plate. That doesn't mean Drew or the Red Sox are in trouble, but it's a reminder that until concussions go away entirely, consider the risk high.
According to Scott Lauber, Drew will undergo mandatory testing for his concussion today. (For more details on testing procedures, Baseball Prospectus has you covered.) At this point, it's too early to say if he'll need to go on the disabled list to start the season, but between the seven-day disabled list and the fact DL moves can be made retroactively, if Drew only needed to miss, say, Opening Day, before he were cleared to play again, that would be an option for the Sox.
Craig Breslow dealt with shoulder weakness early on in camp, and as of yet has not participated in a game or thrown off of a mound. It's likely he'll begin the season on the disabled list in order to slowly work his way back into the big-league bullpen, but that work has begun already.
Breslow is currently throwing on consecutive days with a day off in between, and is throwing from 90 feet. As of now, there is no date set for him to throw off of a mound, hence the notion that he'll be beginning the year on the DL: there just isn't enough spring training left to work him in otherwise. Like with Drew, thanks to the power of retroactive moves, if Breslow only ends up needing to miss a week or so of the season to begin the year, he'll be able to come off in less than the usual 15 days.
Another left-hander in the Boston bullpen dealing with injury concerns -- and the first line of defense should a starting pitcher replacement be necessary --is Franklin Morales. The southpaw flew to Boston to have his ailing back checked out in order to see if there is more to the injury than initially believed, but is returning to spring training in Fort Myers on Thursday. The Red Sox are awaiting the results of his trip, and likely hoping he, like Breslow won't need to begin the year on the disabled list.
If he does, though, and the back injury isn't serious, at least it gives the Red Sox a little more time to look at some of their quality relievers with less job security. Andrew Miller will get a chance to show that his 2012 was for real, albeit a potentially brief one, while the likes of Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard might get to show that they still belong in this organization despite their disappointing, recent pasts.
It's not quite a silver lining -- bronze, perhaps? -- but it certainly beats last spring, when injuries resulted in the big-league existence of Justin Thomas. Bet you forgot about that whole fiasco, but if I have to remember it, so do you.