fb-pixel Skip to main content
RED SOX NOTEBOOK

Eduardo Rodriguez ‘feels ecstatic’ after bullpen session

Eduardo Rodriguez threw 33 pitches in the bullpen on Thursday.FILE/BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF

PHILADELPHIA — The Red Sox added another starting pitcher to the disabled list on Thursday. But they could get one back more quickly than was initially expected.

Lefthander Brian Johnson went on the 10-day DL with inflammation in his shoulder. Johnson left his start on Wednesday night in the third inning after feeling some pain. He is 2-0 with a 4.29 earned run average in four starts.

“I think this is something minor,” Johnson said before returning to Boston, where he has an exam scheduled for Friday.

With Johnson out, righthander Hector Velazquez will start on Monday in Kansas City. He pitched 3⅓ innings of scoreless relief of Johnson on Wednesday, getting his first major league win.

Advertisement



Velazquez may not hold that spot long. Eduardo Rodriguez threw 33 pitches in the bullpen and had no pain in his right knee. Rodriguez’s kneecap dislocated on June 1 and he went on the DL the next day.

“That was way ahead of what we had anticipated,” manager John Farrell said. “He feels ecstatic about being able to complete what would be a normal bullpen.”

Rodriguez still needs to get through some agility and fielding work this weekend before being cleared for a game. The Sox would want him to pitch in a minor league game first.

“It would be important for his own peace of mind,” Farrell said.

Righthanded reliever Austin Maddox was promoted from Triple A Pawtucket. It was his first time in the majors.

Maddox, 26, opened the season with Double A Portland and has split time between there and Triple A Pawtucket. Over 18 games and 27 innings this season, he has a 1.33 earned run average.

The Sox took Maddox in the third round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Florida. Johnson, who also played for the Gators, was a supplemental first-round choice that season.

Advertisement



“I went into spring training with one goal, to show them I could pitch in the big leagues,” Maddox said.

To make room for Maddox on the 40-man roster, the Sox shifted lefthander Roenis Elias to the 60-day disabled list. He has been out all season with an intercostal muscle strain.

Since spring training, the Sox have placed 15 players on the DL, nine of them pitchers. Lefthander Robbie Ross Jr. has been on twice. There are seven pitchers currently on the DL.

Thornburg surgery

It was an announcement that seemed inevitable: righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Thornburg was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and will have surgery on Friday at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Dr. Robert Thompson, who is with the Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at the Washington University School of Medicine, will perform the surgery. Thornburg is anticipated to be ready for the 2018 season.

Thoracic outlet syndrome compresses nerves near the collarbone, which leads to shoulder pain. It typically involves removing a rib, although president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that wouldn’t be determined until the surgery is performed.

Dombrowski said Thornburg should be major league-ready in nine months, essentially the start of next season.

Whether Thornburg can return to form is uncertain. Matt Harvey of the Mets had the surgery last summer and has so far pitched poorly this season. The same is true of Phil Hughes of the Twins.

Advertisement



Josh Beckett returned from the surgery and pitched well for the Dodgers. Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals also succeeded following his surgery.

The Red Sox traded four players to Milwaukee to obtain Thornburg in December. He appeared in two spring training games before being shut down for what was attributed to weakness in his shoulder.

Thornburg was then put on the disabled list with what the team said was an impingement in his shoulder. He has been limited to playing catch since.

Thornburg saw a specialist in Boston, Dr. Dean Donahue, three weeks ago. Botox injections, which relieve the pain for some patients, were tried but did not solve the issue. Thornburg then saw Thompson.

Dombrowski said the Sox researched Thornburg’s medical history before the trade but could not have known he had that syndrome.

“It’s just one of those things that happens,” Dombrowski said. “When you make trades at times, it’s buyer beware. There’s no way you would know this. You just hope you get a healthy player back next year.”

The Sox believed Thornburg would be their primary setup man after what was a strong season for the Brewers in 2016. That role instead fell to Matt Barnes.

Third baseman Travis Shaw, one of the four players sent to Milwaukee, has hit .299 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs. The other three players are minor leaguers.

Through Wednesday, Red Sox third basemen had hit .203 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs.

Dombrowski passed on a question of whether the Red Sox were faulty in their evaluation of Shaw.

Advertisement



“I really wouldn’t talk about another organization’s player at this point,” he said. “It’s really not a proper thing for me to do.”

Making deals

The Red Sox have not announced any draft signings. But based on social media, they’re getting done.

Outfielder Cole Brannen, their second-round pick, changed his Twitter and Instagram profiles to say he’s now a member of the Red Sox organization.

Fifth-round pick Alex Scherff, a high school righthander, was at Fenway Park on Thursday then wrote on Twitter he was headed to Fort Myers, Fla., to start his career.

Dombrowski acknowledged that some deals have been made but are pending physicals.

Third degree

Dombrowski said the Sox would further evaluate Pablo Sandoval before deciding whether to obtain a third baseman.

“Sometimes you have to give guys an opportunity before you just jump to the conclusions right away,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll continue to monitor his situation. It’s up to him to do well and we’ll see what takes place.”

There are options. Jhonny Peralta, who played four seasons in Detroit under Dombrowski, is a free agent after being released by the Cardinals on Tuesday. Trevor Plouffe was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday. He will be traded or released.

It’s questionable whether either player represents an upgrade.

Smith to minors

Carson Smith threw a one-inning simulated game then returned to Boston. He is tentatively scheduled to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket on Sunday pending an examination on Friday.

Advertisement



Smith, who is coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, has not pitched in a game in 13 months and could need several weeks to be MLB-ready.

Farrell said Smith’s throwing session on Thursday was “OK” because of a lack of consistency.

“That’s to be fully expected,” the manager said.

Striking distance

In Thursday’s 1-0 loss, Chris Sale struck out 10 and reached nine double-digit strikeout games in his team’s 66th game. The last pitcher to accomplish that was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson with Arizona in 2001. He had 13 . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. was 1 for 3 with a walk. He has raised his on-base percentage from .292 to .352 in his last 16 games . . . David Price did his usual bullpen session, something he skipped before his last start because of a blister. Price starts on Sunday in Houston . . . Philadelphia righthander Clay Buchholz, who is out for the season following shoulder surgery, was at Citizens Bank Park and visited with his former teammates.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.