ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The discomfort in his right forearm that Rafael Devers has been dealing with since the tail end of this season becomes a problem, a major league source said, when the Red Sox third baseman swings and misses.
Devers did not have any problems Friday night.
In Boston’s 14-6 victory over Tampa in Game 2 of the Division Series, Devers connected on a 425-foot home run to dead center, as sure a sign as any that the issue he has been dealing with the last 10 games is, so far, manageable.
Devers finished 1 for 4, drawing two walks, striking out, and driving another ball to deep center field in the third inning that was caught with a flying leap at the wall by Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Devers did not take batting practice with the rest of the team before the game, and again played wearing a compression sleeve as he has since Sept. 26, one day after he struck out against Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes on an awkward swing. Devers has been dropping his bat after some non-contact swings since the end of the Yankees series.
He made no contact on a pair of swings during his first-inning strikeout, the first a big uppercut on which Devers held the bat with just his left arm at the end.
After deflecting questions about Devers’ arm after the 5-0 Game 1 loss on Thursday night, Red Sox manager Alex Cora did not shed any more light on the subject before Friday’s game.
“Over 162 games you’re not going to be 100 percent,” said Cora. “He’s posting and that’s the most important thing. I don’t think everybody is 100 percent right now. They go through their day, they get treatment if they need to, and they get ready to play the game and that’s where we’re at with everybody.”
While it has been jarring to see Devers’ grimaces and bat drops, he has maintained his status as the Red Sox’ most dangerous overall hitter. Prior to Friday, Devers was 12 for 37 (.324) with three home runs, seven strikeouts, and three walks his last nine games.
Devers did not speak with reporters as he walked to the bus after Game 1, but he was wearing the same or similar sleeve as in the game, in which he went 1 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts. He did not wear it while taking grounders pregame Friday.
Managers seldom divulge details about their players’ aches and pains, Cora chalking it up as the kind of injury players will play through. Along with preserving player privacy, there’s also the competitive angle.
Any tidbit on the nature of an injury can be utilized by an opponent to help them formulate a plan of attack. Pitch location to a certain area in or near the strike zone may prove more difficult for a hitter dealing with, say, a forearm injury.