It was a great season but a season cut short.
Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran will undergo season-ending surgery on his left big toe Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.
Duran sprained his left big toe — a condition known as turf toe — as he climbed the wall on a Gleyber Torres home run in the sixth inning of the Aug. 20 game against the Yankees in New York.
Duran stayed in the game but hobbled off the field in the eighth inning after a ground out, then walked down the tunnel with a member of the Red Sox staff following him.
The expectation is that Duran will be ready for spring training in 2024.
“This happens throughout your career,” manager Alex Cora said prior to the Sox’ matchup against the Astros Tuesday. “It’s just the timing of it. He did well for us. It’s a guy we are counting on in the future and he’ll be OK.”
Duran had been struggling at the plate in August, hitting .192 in 17 games, but for much of the summer he was arguably the Sox’ best player. Duran originally began the season in Triple A Worcester, but was recalled once Adam Duvall went down with a wrist fracture in early April.
Duran came into his own after an underwhelming 2022, batting .295/.346/.482 with eight homers and 40 RBIs. Duran was an impactful player on the bases often turning singles into doubles, finishing with 34 which still led the club entering Tuesday, in addition to a team-leading 24 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
“He had a really good year,” said Cora. “At the end, the numbers are the numbers, right? And that’s how people evaluate players. The on-base percentage, the slugging percentage, stolen bases. He got a little better defensively. He went through the ups and downs. He came in and he was hot, then struggled. He had a good season. He had a really good season.”
The Red Sox called up center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela from Triple A Worcester ahead of Monday’s game against the Astros. He made his debut in the eighth inning of the 13-5 loss, coming on to play center field in the top of the inning, then dropping a single to right on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the frame.
Wilyer Abreu, who is currently on the paternity list, was recalled from Worcester once Duran went to the injured list. With rosters expanding to 28 on Sept. 1, there’s a chance both could be here for the long haul now, but Cora said that’s still to be determined.
About last night
Monday night’s contest came with some criticism of Cora and his bullpen usage. Chris Sale lasted just 4 ⅔ innings against the Astros, which marked the third time in a row a starter didn’t go at least five innings for the Red Sox. Cora summoned Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled Monday from Worcester, from the bullpen for the remainder of the game. The righthander was shellacked for 10 runs on 11 hits, including two homers.
Afterward, Cora said that his club had to ride with Barraclough because of a depleted and overworked bullpen. He doubled down on that statement Tuesday but added that if Sale had gone six innings, the team would have gone with Barraclough for the seventh, Chris Martin for the eighth, and Kenley Jansen for the ninth.
The Red Sox are coming out of a 16-game stretch in as many days. Within that stretch, Jansen had to leave last Wednesday’s contest against the Astros in Houston with a tight hamstring, forcing Nick Pivetta to face three batters after he had thrown five innings against the Yankees just three days prior.
“Starters aren’t going deep enough,” Cora said. “And we have had to use guys for 1 ⅔ innings. It doesn’t matter the pitches. People have this misconception that 20 pitches is just 20 pitches. But it’s more so the value of the pitch. It’s not easy because we’re trying to win. And [the Astros are who] we’re chasing. But yesterday at that point, that’s why we needed to.”
The Red Sox optioned Barraclough back to Worcester Tuesday and recalled lefthander Joe Jacques. Cory Kluber (shoulder) is beginning to ramp up his workload and will throw a bullpen soon … Righthander Zack Kelly (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment for Salem in the near future … This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jimmy Fund. The WEEI/NESN Radio-Telethon began Tuesday morning and will run through Wednesday. The event has raised over $65 million for cancer treatment and research since 2002. The Red Sox held a pregame ceremony on the field Tuesday highlighted by former Sox president Larry Lucchino, who is also a cancer survivor, throwing out the first pitch alongside David Ortiz ... Astros left fielder Michael Brantley was reinstated from the 60-day IL Tuesday, playing in his first game since June 26, 2022 after a long layoff due to a torn labrum.