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Sox Thrive Despite Injuries

5/11/09
Sox Thrive Despite Injuries
Paul Chick

Every team in sports endures injuries and let’s hope the Red Sox can start getting healthy. Though not yet mid May, Boston’s share of walking wounded is beginning to add up. Let’s go around the diamond…

Dice K is scheduled to make his final rehab start Friday in Toledo for the PawSox. After the oh so popular World Baseball Classic where he dominated again, Dice K had 2 dreadful starts for Boston. Much has been made of Dice K’s career in Japan, which would be considered overuse in Major League Baseball. He has also been compared to other Japanese pitchers who have not found success pitching in the States. Despite his propensity to work himself into jams Dice K has a career mark of 33-16 with a 3.87 ERA. Time will tell… He is scheduled to join the big club when the next homestand begins May 19.
John Smoltz is hoping for a June return. Can’t really include this in the injury count since he was acquired as damaged goods. But since we’re discussing injured players we can’t overlook Smoltz. The Sox are looking for the 41 year old right-hander to give them a second half and postseason boost.

Over at first base Kevin Youkilis has missed the past six games. Youk left last Monday’s game in New York after taking a swing and grimacing in pain. The Sox have been cautious with Youk and he looks to return Tuesday night in Anaheim. Hopefully his red-hot bat (.393, 6 HR, 20 RBI) has not cooled. Jeff Bailey is in a tough spot replacing Youkilis but he has shown little (.206 AVG in 34 AB). Look for Bailey to return to Pawtucket once Youk is healthy. Mark Kotsay has been a bit of a forgotten man. The 1B/OF was a key contributor for Boston down the stretch in 2008. Kotsay had off-season back surgery but has been slowed more recently by a problematic right calf muscle. He adds much needed depth at first, in the outfield and also another left handed bat on Terry Francona’s bench

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia left last night’s game in the 4th inning with a strained right groin. Pedroia said the groin has been a problem for about a week. The Sox don’t believe the injury is serious. After a flight to the West Coast he is expected to sit out the Tuesday opener with the Angels and return to the lineup Wednesday.

The shortstop position has been a M*A*S*H* unit. Thank Theo for acquiring Nick Green in the offseason. A .245 career hitter, Green is batting .289 for the Sox and has played excellent defense. Julio Lugo has been slow to return from off season knee surgery. He batted leadoff Thursday night in that wild (12 run 6th inning) win over the Indians going 3 for 5. With Green in the lineup the Sox have had the luxury of easing Lugo back into the mix. Jed Lowrie had wrist surgery last month for an injury that has bothered him since last season. There was speculation he may miss the entire season. The Sox now say he will return in mid season but these wrist injuries always seem to be prolonged. How is he supposed to swing the bat without an ulnar styloid? I’m half kidding (I think).

Hamstring injuries are the prevalent woe in the Boston outfield. Rocco Baldelli returned to the lineup this past week after a stint on the 15 day DL. Of course after what Rocco has endured in his career a pulled hammy is a mere inconvenience. The Rhode Island native is still only 27 and can be a key contributor for Boston. CF Jacoby Ellsbury missed 2 games last week with tightness in his right hamstring. He returned over the weekend and had 4 hits in the 3 games against Tampa. And what would an injury report be without including J.D. Drew? Drew missed Saturday’s game against the Rays with a left quad problem but returned last night. Drew has been healthy this year and let’s hope that trend continues.

Big Papi sat out the Thursday night win over the Indians with a stiff neck. Please no jokes about Papi being “a stiff” but no homers and a .224 AVG entering mid May! C’mon what’s going on here?

With all this the Sox are 20-12, a game back of the surprising Blue Jays in the A.L. East. As Boston heads to the West Coast, Toronto hosts the Yankees beginning tomorrow night.

Random thoughts…get well soon Remdawg!…RIP Dom DiMaggio. Still miss Manny? Me neither. Interleague play starts May 22 as the Mets visit Fenway for a 3 game series.

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