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Red Sox Spring Training Notes 2/14: Alex Verdugo could miss the start of the season

A few bits of news from Thursday down in Fort Myers.

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Thursday was a somewhat busy day at Red Sox camp, with a few minor pieces of news coming to light. Rather than do one post for each, we’ll just round them all up at once and save us both the time. See, I’m thinking of you, the reader.

Alex Verdugo could miss the start of the season

This one doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it is the first firm bit of news we’ve gotten on the subject since the first whispers of Mookie Betts trade possibilities came about. Alex Verdugo could potentially miss the start of the 2020 season as he continues to deal with back issues that plagued him at the end of last season, according to a report from Alex Speier. Like I said, Verdugo ended up missing the last couple of months of the year due to an oblique/back issue, and it’s continued to bother him through the winter. He said shortly after the New Year that he was still dealing with the issues and that he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready for the start of the year. According to Speier, this is something the Red Sox were aware of at the time of the deal.

With the addition of Kevin Pillar likely being announced soon — more on that in a second — the Red Sox will use the former Blue Jay as a starter if Verdugo is indeed out to start the season. The injury could also clear up a bit of confusion at the end of the bench. Tzu-Wei Lin and Jonathan Arauz both need to make the Opening Day roster for different reasons — the former is out of minor-league options and the latter must be returned to the Astros if he doesn’t stick — and there was only one bench spot open for them. If Verdugo is out, that opens up two spots, though Marco Hernández, among others, could be in play as well.

Kevin Pillar’s contract to be one-year for around $4 million

Along with that report on Verdugo’s injury, Speier also reported that Pillar’s contract with the Red Sox is expected to be for one year in the $4 million range. There’s really not a ton to say on this one. Pillar obviously is an upgrade on the current roster, who didn’t really have a backup outfielder. They had J.D. Martinez, who is really a DH, and Tzu-Wei Lin, who is really an infielder. Of course, while Verdugo is out, Pillar shifts into the lineup and the backup outfielder problem arises again. If/When everyone is healthy, Pillar serves as a good platoon bat for an all-lefty outfielder.

Dustin Pedroia to report late to camp

Red Sox position players are due to report to camp by Monday, but Dustin Pedroia won’t be there at that point. After suffering a “major setback” with his knee, he is still feeling soreness and won’t be ready next week. This is not a huge surprise, but it’s still a bummer. It’s looking more and more like Pedroia isn’t going to get another shot beyond maybe a David Wright-esque good-bye, and even that may be too much. I’m willing to give him a chance to prove me wrong, though.

Team wins arbitration with Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez had his arbitration hearing on Wednesday, and Ken Rosenthal reports that the team won. The pitcher filed at $8.975 million while the team filed at $8.3 million. I have nothing to say here besides arbitration is dumb and going to trial over this small a difference is wild.