JUPITER, Fla. — When the Red Sox sent Wade Miley to the Mariners in a package that included minor leaguers for reliever Carson Smith in December, there was talk from the Seattle side that one reason they gave up Smith was a projection that his delivery might cause an injury.
Well, it didn’t take long for that fear to be realized.
John Farrell noticed in Monday’s game that Smith’s forearm wasn’t acting right, so he took Smith out of the game in the seventh inning. Smith was suffering from forearm tightness and he’ll have tests Tuesday in Fort Myers.
Smith, who walked the only batter he faced, said, “I felt tightness in the forearm, last pitch I threw. I’ve never been taken out of the game with forearm tightness, so I haven’t felt that before.”
Asked his level of concern, Smith said, “I’m concerned. It’s my career. If everybody in here felt forearm tightness, they’d be concerned.
“Who knows how serious it is? They did some tests in there and nothing came back too positive — I mean testing positive. There were optimistic results, so I’ll see the doctor when I get back.”
The trainers did range-of-motion tests, and Smith said the discomfort could not be replicated, which is a positive sign.
Farrell said it was a “cramping sensation. The way he was moving his arm wasn’t what we normally see with Carson.
“It’s more precautionary than anything. We’ll see what that evaluation produces. There’s always concern at this point in the year. Certainly we’re not going to take any chances at all.
“Somebody who took the ball 70 times last season, it would be unusual for there not to be normal wear and tear.”
Shaw stays sharp
It’s always hard to unseat the veteran with a huge contract, but Travis Shaw has a beautiful swing at the moment that’s producing big time. He had three more hits in Monday’s 4-3 win over the Cardinals, playing third base while Pablo Sandoval served as the DH and went 2 for 3. Shaw is now hitting .474 and Sandoval is up to .290.
Farrell said he’ll flip-flop the two vs. Miami Tuesday.
Shaw also started a nice 5-4-3 double play in the first inning and certainly hasn’t looked out of place at third base, while Sandoval has made four errors.
“I’m still worried about feel, but it feels really good right now,” Shaw said about his swing. “Just let my at-bats do the talking and let them speak for themselves.”
As hot as Shaw is, and as much as Farrell has been told by president Dave Dombrowski that he can play whomever he wants, Farrell might be in danger of losing Sandoval’s confidence if he made such a move.
The Red Sox have gone to great lengths to defend Sandoval, even saying he had 17 percent body fat, which would be quite a reduction from last season. The eye test shows a much bigger person, but Dombrowski had rejected the idea that Sandoval has gained weight during camp. Farrell also has said that Sandoval has handled the bat well.
Shaw was supposed to play some left field, and likely will get some reps there later in the week. The delay, Farrell acknowledged, is because he wants to see Shaw more at third base.
“I think he’s played the position with ease,” Farrell said. “He’s shown good range to his glove side.”
“I’d like to add left field to the mix,” Shaw said. “To show how versatile I can be. I feel I’m in a good spot. I don’t think this is a fluke. I feel I can carry this over into the season.”
Sandoval is pleased with his swings, from both sides.
“I’ve been working hard, working early,” he said. “Keep playing the way I’ve been working. I’ve always been excited. Like I said, every day is a competition, every guy is competing to be better. I don’t know why you guys make it a big deal. Every guy is working to get better.”
Picking and grinning
Hanley Ramirez was grinning ear to ear after his day at first base was over. He made a nice stretch to complete a play on which second baseman Brock Holt dived to stop a ball up the middle. “I’m having a great time and working on helping my infielders,” said Ramirez. “I’ve been working with Butter [coach Brian Butterfield] to stay low and I’ll see the ball better. The stretch was real exciting. When he caught that ball, I’m saying, ‘Throw it, throw it, and finish that play.’ ” . . . Eduardo Rodriguez threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday in Fort Myers. He will throw one more before he faces hitters. Rodriguez, who will start the season on the 15-day disabled list, will have to go through his own personal spring training. If things go according to plan, he could rejoin the rotation by the end of April.
Test for Vazquez
Christian Vazquez will catch a minor league game Tuesday, his first back-to-back action as he tests his surgically repaired elbow. He played the first six innings Monday. “He’s moving along at a pretty good pace in his rehab,” Farrell said. “The only thing we can’t answer is the durability aspect. We’re in a good place when it comes to his progress.’’ As to whether Vazquez will get a shot to play on the major league team soon, Farrell said, “Because it can be a position of attrition, we’ll see what it looks like in time. You’re a pitch away from having to go to the next guy. How that shakes out is yet to be seen.” . . . On the competition for No. 5 starter, Farrell said, “I like the way [Steven] Wright and [Roenis] Elias have thrown the ball. Henry [Owens] is a quality pitcher and yet we need to see consistent command.” He said Brian Johnson probably won’t be in line to make another start because of a toe injury . . . At Fort Myers, David Ortiz went 0 for 2 with an walk and an RBI in the Triple A game. Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless inning. Blake Swihart (1 for 5) and Chris Young (1 for 4 with a walk) had plate appearances in the Triple A and Double A games.