The Red Sox received two potentially serious blows to their roster makeup in the process of falling to the Royals by a final score of 7-3 at Kauffmann Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In the bottom of the fifth inning on a steamy day in Kansas City, Christian Arroyo needed to be removed from the game after colliding with center fielder Kiké Hernández while the two were going after a fly ball off the bat of Hunter Dozier that wound up going for a double.
In the process of trying to make an over-the-shoulder catch with his back towards the infield, the second baseman inadvertently bumped knees with Hernandez as he slid into the outfield grass.
As a result of the contact he made with Hernandez, Arroyo — who was in visible pain and seemingly could not put a ton of weight on his right knee — needed to be taken out and was replaced by Marwin Gonzalez at second base for the remainder of the contest.
Later diagnosed with a right shin bone bruise, X-rays on the 26-year-old’s knee did come back negative.
“Christian is sore,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). “It’s right below the patellar. So he’ll be sore for a little bit. He had X-rays. Everything’s good. They moved his knee around. It seems like he’ll be OK. Obviously let’s see how it goes on the plane and when we get to Tampa.”
As noted by The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey, the Sox were planning on batting Arroyo leadoff for all three of their upcoming games against the Rays this week with left-handers on the mound for Tampa Bay, so this bone bruise certainly puts those plans in jeopardy.
Hernandez, meanwhile, was able to remain in the game after the fifth-inning collision, and he later described what happened on the play from his point of view.
“The collision happened after the ball dropped. I was coming in for the ball. He was still going back for the ball,” he said. “I wasn’t able to get out of the way because I was trying to keep up with the ball. We just happened to hit each other.”
Plawecki exits in fourth inning
Two innings before the collision that forced Arroyo out of this contest early, Hernandez was also somewhat involved in another Red Sox injury.
With one out and a runner at second base in the bottom half of the third, Hernandez fielded a line-drive single off the bat of Salvador Perez and attempted to gun down the runner — Whit Merrifield — at home.
Hernandez’s throw was errant, however, and it forced backup catcher Kevin Plawecki to leave his post and chase after the ball before it hit the backstop. He came up limping in the process of doing so.
Able to remain in the game for the remainder of the inning, Plawecki was ultimately pinch-hit for by Christian Vazquez in the top half of the fourth and was later ruled out with left hamstring tightness.
Based off what Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) during his postgame media availability, it seems as though the Sox are optimistic that Arroyo will avoid a stint on the injured list; though the same cannot be said for Plawecki.
“With Kevin, we’ll wait a little bit,” Cora said of the 30-year-old backstop. “He wanted to grind it out. We’ll know more [Monday]. I talked to [athletic trainer] Brandon [Henry] and he feels like with that one, we should wait to see where we’re at during the week.”
The Red Sox have Monday off as they prepare to open a three-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg.
If Plawecki’s status is still uncertain after that, then it’s likely Boston would need to place him on the injured list and, in turn, call up another catcher.
Besides Vazquez and Plawecki, prospects Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez are the only other catchers on the Sox’ 40-man roster and neither have any big-league experience.
Veterans with major-league experience such as Chris Herrmann and Jett Bandy, however, are currently playing for the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in Worcester, so that would likely be the move.
That being said, neither Bandy nor Herrmann are currently on Boston’s 40-man roster, so a corresponding transaction would need to be made in order for one of the two to be added to the big-league roster.
(Picture of Alex Cora and Christian Arroyo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)