On Monday night, Red Sox pitching prospect Thad Ward was forced to exit his Arizona Fall League start in the fourth inning after being escorted off the mound by a team trainer.
Ward, making his second start for the Scottsdale Scorpions, had allowed two runs on four hits, five walks, and two strikeouts over three-plus innings of work in a 7-1 loss to the Surprise Saguaros.
According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Ward was removed from Monday’s contest with a left oblique strain. It remains to be seen if the right-hander will pitch again before the Arizona Fall League season comes to a close next month.
Ward, 25, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization. The former fifth-round draft selection out of the University of Central Florida was sent to the AFL this year after missing the majority of the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Upon returning to the mound in July, Ward made 13 starts across four different levels. With Double-A Portland — where he last pitched at in 2021 — the 6-foot-3, 192-pound hurler posted a 2.43 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 14 walks over seven starts spanning 33 1/3 innings of work to close out the 2022 campaign.
In his first start for Scottsdale last Tuesday, Ward sat at 91-94 mph with his two-seam fastball while also mixing in an 81-85 mph slider (his best pitch) and an 87-89 mph changeup.
Ward, who turns 26 in January, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft later this winter. As noted by Speier, the Red Sox likely plan on adding the righty to their 40-man roster in order to prevent that from happening. If that is indeed the case, Ward could be in a position to make his major-league debut at some point next summer.
(Picture of Thad Ward: Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)