The Red Sox are coming off the series of the year, at least for us Red Sox fans. Finishing it off with a massive walk-off victory over the Yankees on Sunday, everyone in Boston is on Cloud Nine to start this week off. It’s pretty rad. What’s even more amazing is that the Red Sox were able to pull this off while missing so many key pieces on their roster. No, they aren’t missing everyday players as talented as Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez, but they are missing (arguably) the best pitcher in baseball, who was lined up to start in this series. They are also missing important position players, even if they aren’t quite stars. Well, they may have missed the Yankees series but they shouldn’t be out too much longer. Before and after Sunday’s game, Alex Cora gave updates on a number of injured Red Sox players.
- I think it goes without saying that, among all of the injuries on this roster, it is the one to Chris Sale that people are watching most closely. There’s still a pretty good chance they are just using this opportunity to get him some rest given his tendency to slow down towards the end of the year, though immediately preceding the Yankees series seems to be strange timing. Either way, there was some panic when the lefty was not included among the probable starters in Toronto, as the original plan was for him to be back when first eligible on Wednesday. Well, fear not, it is by design. Cora said that Sale will start in Baltimore in the following series, not because of any sort of setback but rather to avoid being lined up to pitch in Philadelphia. It’s all about avoiding Sale having to hit and run the bases, and that’s a strategy I can get behind.
- Rafael Devers, meanwhile, is first among the injured players in terms of date eligible to return, and he remains on track to get back on that day. The young third baseman is down with a hamstring injury, and he should be back at the hot corner and in the lineup on Wednesday. He’ll head to Lowell for a quick rehab appearance on Monday (he’s going to miss Better Call Saul!) before getting back with the team in Toronto. His return will be nice, as even though he’s had a rough year the lineup still feels deeper when he is there instead of both Brock Holt and Eduardo Núñez.
- Blake Swihart is next on the list of players eligible to return, and like Devers he should return when he is first eligible. He went down with a hamstring injury of his own on Thursday, and the timing was terrible considering how red-hot he had been at the plate before going down. Cora said he shouldn’t miss more than ten days, which means he could return by the time the team travels to Philadelphia, or even the last game of the Orioles series. Since Christian Vazquez is already down with injury, the catching depth is already being tested and Sandy León played all four Yankees games. Expect Dan Butler to get a start or two over the next week, but the Red Sox need Swihart back soon.
- Oh, hey, another hamstring injury. Ian Kinsler also went down with a minor hamstring injury, which resulted in Mookie Betts having to play second base for most of the second game of this weekend’s series. Fortunately, like Swihart and Devers before him, the expectation is that he should miss the minimum ten days, putting him on track to re-join the team in Philadelphia. There’s still a week to get through, but it’s looking like this lineup should finally be back at full strength for that Phillies series, and we can see what they can really look like.
- Finally, there is the one longer-term injury to worry about with Eduardo Rodriguez. The lefty has been out for a few weeks now, and at the time he hurt his ankle it wasn’t even clear he’d return this year. Rodriguez, armed with a new more aggressive approach in coming back from injury, has continued to make strides, however, and threw off a mound in the bullpen on Sunday. The coaching staff was in attendance while Rafael Devers stood in and Butler caught behind the plate, and by all accounts he looked great. Based on his comments Cora was clearly encouraged, though there’s still no timetable on his return. For his part, Rodriguez says he can come back this month, and if his quick recovery thus far is any indication, he’s not wrong.