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Tyler Thornburg likely to start the year on the disabled list

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The curse of new Boston relievers continues.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Red Sox have just suffered another blow to their Opening Day roster. After learning that David Price will definitely miss the beginning of the season and may not be ready to pitch again until May, we have now learned that new set-up man Tyler Thornburg will likely miss the start of the year as well.

The former Brewer was originally slated to appear in Monday’s game — which would’ve been his first spring appearance since March 1 — but he was scratched before the game has started. It’s been a rough spring for the newest Red Sox reliever, as he suffered from shoulder fatigue early in camp after not quite understanding the team’s offseason strength-building procedures. Then, prior to his appearance on Monday, he suffered spasms in his trap area on his throwing arm. Nothing is official yet, but Dave Dombrowski acknowledged that this likely means Thornburg will have to start the year on the disabled list. He’ll undergo an MRI on Tuesday, but as of now it’s unclear just how much time he’ll miss.

This is a blow to Boston’s bullpen, as Thornburg was set to be a big part of the unit this year. The righty is coming off a breakout year in Milwaukee in which he pitched to a 2.15 ERA over 67 innings with a 2.87 FIP and a 2.78 DRA. Now, the Red Sox are left with Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Robbie Ross and Matt Barnes likely handling the eighth inning duties, with Kelly expected to get the bulk of the work there.

If Thornburg is only out for a couple of weeks, Boston should be able to absorb this injury with little problem. If it’s a longer absence than that, they will certainly need at least one of the guys above to take a major step forward from last year. At least from the last three. Kelly showed legit back-end potential last year, but it came over a relatively small sample against major-league talent. He needs to prove he can do it consistently over the long haul. Above all else, I just really miss Mauricio Dubon right now.