The Red Sox suffered a blow in last weekend’s series against the Rays when Eduardo Nuñez was beat up. It appeared the worst of his injury happened on a stolen base in which he had something of an awkward slide where his knee banged on the dirt on his way into the bag. He stayed in the game at the time, though he was clearly banged up. A few innings later, he was clearly limping on his way to first base on a single and was removed from the game. We learned on Tuesday that the ailing knee may be worse than we originally thought. He sprained his PCL and will miss at least a week of action.
So, a few things to note here. For one thing, we should mention that a PCL injury is much less severe than that to the ACL or MCL. I’m not a doctor and cannot explain to you why that’s the case, but it is. Furthermore, it seems likely to me that Nuñez will miss at least a little more than a week. He’s going to be shut down completely for the next seven days, and then he’ll be reevaluated. Obviously, with the minor-league season essentially over there’s not going to be a rehab assignment, but they still won’t rush him back. For his part, Nuñez has said that he expects to be back before the regular season, but he also said he won’t rush himself just because it’s mid-September. For an upcoming free agent, there’s no reason he should be over-exerting himself, either.
As for the Red Sox, this is obviously a big deal, and it becomes a bigger deal the longer the injury lasts. In the short term, they have the pieces to get by. Dustin Pedroia continues to get healthier and he should be able to play more and more as time goes on. He and Xander Bogaerts should form the middle infield more often than not, and the latter had a big game on Tuesday off which he’ll hope to build. Nuñez also got some time at third base, but Rafael Devers is obviously holding down that spot admirably. Boston also has Tzu-Wei Lin, Brock Holt and Deven Marrero on the bench for the games in which any of the three above can’t play. As October gets closer, though, they’ll want Nuñez to get at least a few games in before postseason play starts. It’s not the end of the world if his next game comes in the playoffs, but we’ll all feel a lot better if he gets some regular season swings, first.