The Red Sox got a bit of bad news on Monday, though it’s not a total surprise. Steve Pearce has only played in seven spring training games this year and he was pulled early from his last one with some discomfort in his lower leg. It didn’t seem to be much of a concern at the time, but this was a little over a week ago and he still hasn’t seen any action. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the 2018 World Series MVP is going to start the year on the injured list. Sam Travis is set to take his place on the Opening Day roster.
Steve Pearce (calf) will start season on injured list.— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) March 26, 2019
Sam Travis will start season with club in Pearce’s place.
For Pearce and the Red Sox, it makes all the sense in the world to stay cautious with this one. We all know the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, and there is no reason to push a veteran like Pearce at this point of the year. Every game and every win is worth the same, of course, but you don’t want to risk this calf injury lingering for months and affecting him all year just so he could be around the team on Opening Day. It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t necessarily have to miss the first ten days of the regular season, as they can back-date his injury a bit. It seems as though he was close to returning anyway, so there is at least some hope this will be an even shorter stay on the IL than the mandatory ten days.
In the meantime, Sam Travis is going to start the year in the majors. Travis hasn’t showed much in the majors, of course, but he makes sense as the replacement. The Red Sox are going to see a lot of lefties on the west coast to start the year, including three in their four games in Seattle, so Pearce was lined up for a lot of playing time. I don’t necessarily think Travis is in line to play as much as Pearce would have, but it’s still nice to have that right-handed bat available. Tzu-Wei Lin could have been another option, but he doesn’t really fill a big need for the roster right now. For Travis, this is a big chance for him as he enters his final season with a minor-league option.