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Alex Cora ponders a shuffling of Red Sox rotation

Andrew Cashner is removed from Tuesday’s game by manager Alex Cora after another poor start.Charles Krupa/Associated Press/Associated Press

Change may come next week to the Red Sox rotation.

With the team’s starters having forged a 5.08 ERA through 116 games — and amidst a 10-game run in which the rotation owned a 9.50 ERA while giving up 3.2 homers per nine innings — manager Alex Cora acknowledged that he and his coaching staff are considering alterations to the five-man group. Though the Red Sox won’t consider change in the middle of their current stretch of 34 games in 34 days, once the team gets past its off-day next Thursday, Cora left open the door to “creative” alterations to how he uses starters Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Andrew Cashner.


“There’s ideas,” said Cora, who clarified that there has been no talk of using any of his relievers — including starters-turned-relievers Darwinzon Hernandez and Nate Eovaldi — as openers. “As far as where the schedule is right now, it’s kind of tough to be creative. . . . Then the off-days will come because of interleague, [and] we might get creative at that time.”

Cora said that he and the Red Sox coaching staff are open-minded about the possibility of either piggybacking starters with shorter stints in the same game (thus reducing the number of times pitchers might have to face opposing lineups) or skipping starters.

“I’m open to it,” Cora said. “But we’ll sit down with them before we make a decision, obviously.”

Red Sox starters have surrendered six or more runs 20 times this year, tied for the fourth most in the majors. The team is 31-11 (.738) when receiving a quality start, but just 29-45 (.392) when failing to get an outing of six-plus innings and three or fewer earned runs.

A shot in the arm

Righthander Steven Wright, on the injured list since taking a liner off the big toe last month, received a plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injection in his elbow from Dr. James Andrews.


“Hopefully he can bounce back sooner rather than later and let’s see where it takes us, if he can come back this year,” Cora said of Wright (0-1, 6.53 ERA in six games spanning 6⅓ innings).

Wright received his shot one day after fellow reliever Heath Hembree received a similar injection in his pitching elbow — though Hembree received his shot not on the ligament but instead on the outside of his elbow.

“I was basically pitching with a sprained elbow, probably the same as spraining an ankle and trying to play on it,” said Hembree, who noted that his ulnar collateral (Tommy John) ligament was “rock solid” in a recent MRI. “It’s kind of a weird spot on the outside. It’s kind of common with a straight-arm fall. . . . It’s nothing that’s concerning in the future. It’s just something that we had to get taken care of now.”

Hembree expressed hope that rest will allow the inflammation in his elbow to subside and permit him to pitch again this season.

“If everything goes according to plan and everything goes smooth with what we expect, I’ll be back with a couple weeks to go in the season,” said Hembree, who landed on the injured list last week. “That’s what I’m going to shoot for, but I’m going to take it smart, and I’m going to get it taken care of.”

On to Williamsport

Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the Red Sox will play the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth version of the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., next season.


The game will be Aug. 23 at 7:05 p.m. at Bowman Field, the home of the Class A Phillies affiliate that held 2,429 fans for last season’s game between the Mets and Phillies. It will be a home game for the Orioles.

The event started in 2017 with the Cardinals playing the Pirates. The Cubs and Pirates will play on Aug. 18 this season.

Traditionally, most of the fans will be players and families taking part in the Little League World Series. The major league players are expected to attend LLWS games earlier in the day.

“My brother [Pirates third base coach Joey Cora] was part of it and it’s a good all-around experience,” Alex Cora said. “In the beginning it looks kind of like hectic with the traveling. But when you get there and you show up early and you spend time with the kids, it was something that the Pirates and the Cardinals, they loved. It was fun.

“Looking forward to it. It’s something different.”

Sox for Socks

From Friday through Sunday, the Red Sox Foundation will conduct its 14th annual “Sox for Socks” drive, collecting new, white athletic socks at Fenway gates before and during games for distribution to Boston’s homeless by the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program . . . Sunday’s Red Sox-Angels game will be televised nationally on TBS . . . The Red Sox took their team photo on Wednesday afternoon. All members of the roster — except for Dustin Pedroia (recovering from surgery in Arizona), Wright, and Steve Pearce (rehabbing in Fort Myers) — were present.


Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on twitter at @alexspeier.