Two of the newest additions to the 2020 Red Sox are progressing well from their injuries, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters in a Zoom call earlier Wednesday night.
Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, the centerpiece in the February Mookie Betts trade, was coming off a stress fracture in his lower back suffered while he was with the Dodgers last year. It looked as though he would miss quite a bit of the 2020 season earlier in the spring.
Now, with an abbreviated 60-game campaign set to begin late next month, the 24-year-old likely won’t miss any game time at all if all goes according to plan.
“He should be all systems go,” Bloom said of Verdugo Wednesday. “The only limitation on him at this point is what we’ve been able to do by virtue of the fact that we’ve been shut down. He’s handled everything great. He should be ready to roll as we get him ramped up. This applies to everybody but it certainly applies to him given what he’s been through. We’re not going to cut corners. But we’re optimistic that he’s going to be ready to roll.”
With Kevin Pillar and touted prospects like Jarren Duran and Marcus Wilson in the mix, the Red Sox still should not feel the need to rush Verdugo back from his back ailment.
Once the Arizona native reports to training camp at Fenway Park next week, things will presumably become more clear regarding a course of action to take before the season starts.
As for the other new addition, veteran right-hander Collin McHugh has been “doing well” as he recovers from an offseason non-surgical procedure to repair a flexor strain.
While getting back to throwing off a mound in recent weeks, the 33-year-old is “basically progressing towards games,” per Bloom.
“He has tolerated everything really well,” Boston’s chief baseball officer added. “We’ve tried to build him up really responsibility. Don’t know yet on an exact timetable but he is progressing really well.”
The Red Sox and McHugh agreed to a one-year deal in early March that included $600,000 in guaranteed money.
At the time, the one-year pact also included incentives that could bring its value upwards of $4 million, but things have obviously changed now due to a shortened season where players will receive prorated salaries.
McHugh, a native of Illinois, spent the previous six seasons with the Astros and has experience working as both a starter and reliever. That versatility could prove to be quite valuable this year if the hurler is healthy.
In non-physical ailment-related news, an unidentified player on the Sox’ 40-man roster tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month while exposed to the virus in his hometown. As of now, he is not displaying any symptoms, according to Bloom.