The Red Sox were dealt a minor blow before and during their 6-5, extra-innings loss to the Tigers Wednesday night.
Outfielder Alex Verdugo was originally penciled in to bat second and start in center field for Boston in the middle game of this three-game series at Fenway Park.
At approximately 4:03 p.m. eastern time, MLB.com’s Ian Browne tweeted that Verdugo had been scratched from the Sox’ lineup “due to a back issue.”
Less than a half hour later, the Red Sox officially announced that Verdugo was taken out of the lineup as a precaution due to “lower back tightness” and that “he was prepared to play but the [team was] being careful.”
When asked what into the decision to keep the 24-year-old out his lineup on Wednesday, Sox manager Alex Cora provided some clarity during his postgame media availability.
“Tight back,” Cora said in regards to what was ailing Verdugo. “He came into the office, he didn’t feel right. So I decided to stay away from him today. Hopefully, he can feel better tomorrow.”
The fact that Verdugo had to be scratched from the lineup resulted in Enrique Hernandez moving from second base to center field and Christian Arroyo, who was not originally slated to start, getting the start at second base.
In the sixth inning of Wednesday’s contest, Arroyo was drilled in the left hand by a 91 mph pitch from Tigers starter Casey Mize. The 25-year-old was able to take his base, but he was removed after the seventh inning on account of the pain he was experiencing.
Later diagnosed with a left hand contusion, X-rays on Arroyo’s injured hand came back negative.
It was only last Sunday that the infielder took a 94 mph pitch off that very same left hand in the first inning of a game against the Mariners that would force him to miss two games.
“I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow,” Cora said of Arroyo. “He got hit in the same hand as he did last week. It’s pretty sore. X-rays were negative. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow when he comes in but we’ll stay away from him.”
With an already short bench, Arroyo going down Wednesday forced the Red Sox to move Christian Vazquez from behind the plate to second base while Kevin Plawecki took over catching duties.
Even with Arroyo already being ruled out for Thursday’s series finale and Verdugo’s status up in the air, it’s not unreasonable to think the Sox could call up a position player from Triple-A Worcester for the matinee against Detroit.
Cora ruled that possibility out, though, and instead suggested that the club could make some roster moves ahead of their four-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore this weekend.
“I think we should be okay tomorrow, if (Verdugo) plays or not,” said the Sox skipper. “We’re going to have to talk about, after tomorrow, seeing where we’re at physically and making decisions based on that.”
Before claiming reliever Brandon Brennan off waivers from the Mariners and placing Ryan Brasier on the 60-day injured list on Monday, the Red Sox had not made a 40-man roster-related transaction since April 18, when Tanner Houck was appointed as the 27th man for a doubleheader against the White Sox.
Additionally, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes that Michael Chavis would be “the obvious candidate” to receive a call up from Worcester since Jonathan Arauz and Marcus Wilson are the only other WooSox position players on Boston’s 40-man roster.
(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)