...And a Few More Injuries for the Road
The day off for the Red Sox was a gift from heaven.
Right when they needed it the most, a respite came. Now it's back on the road against MLB-best Detroit, fresh off a series that had Red Sox players dropping like flies.
We already knew about LHP David Wells, LHP Lenny DiNardo, and RHP Mike Timlin going down. Now RF Wily Mo Pena's "minor wrist injury" -- very similar to the one that sidelined David Ortiz for 2 months in 1997 -- is dragging him off to surgery and a consequent 6-8 week vacation. Varitek's been hitting poorly, Ortiz has looked tired in the past few series (from doing what?) and Ramirez has sustained some bumps and bruises despite heating up at the plate.
Apart from the normal wear and tear, a couple other serious injuries are looming a little too close for comfort. 3B Mike Lowell, who has sparked the Red Sox offense so far this year while contributing to the team's league-leading fielding percentage, pulled up lame the other night after a groundout to first. The indication is that Lowell's hamstring is the weak link here, and they're known to be particularly bothersome long after the initial pull or strain.
Another potential problem is the foot of 2B Mark Loretta, who, despite going yard in the series finale, ran gingerly around the foot in the field. Ask Pena, Foulke, and Crisp; sometimes these "little" injuries aren't so little after all. One can't help but wonder what would happen if either Lowell or Loretta aggravated their conditions, and it's not a pretty picture:
3B Kevin Youkilis
SS Alex Gonzalez
2B Alex Cora
1B J.T. Snow
We'd be able to turn 2, and not much else. Which might come in handy if the Sox need to start RHP David Pauley again in the back of their beat-up rotation, judging by the hittability and lack of control he showed in his major-league debut.
The point is, Cora, Snow, Gonzalez and Pauley are not names you find in a playoff-caliber lineup and rotation. The Red Sox walk a thin and treacherous line for the next 7 road games, and if Loretta or Lowell goes down it may well turn out to be a plank.