Red Sox infielder Trevor Story underwent a successful internal bracing procedure of the right ulnar collateral ligament (elbow) on Monday, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister at Texas Metroplex Institute in Arlington, Texas.
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom did not provide a timetable for when Story could return to action, but the 30-year-old is expected to be sidelined well into the 2023 season. That being the case because the recovery period for his procedure, which is considered to be a modified version of Tommy John Surgery, typically ranges between four to six months.
Story missed time with right elbow inflammation while with the Rockies in 2021 but did not experience any such issues as he shifted from shortstop to second base with the Red Sox in 2022. He did, however, miss a significant amount of time due to other injuries, such as a right hand contusion that kept him sidelined from July 13 until August 27 and a left heel contusion that kept him sidelined from September 11 through the end of the season.
All told, Story was limited to just 94 games last year. The right-handed hitter batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts over 396 plate appearances in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract he signed last March.
Defensively, Story made 92 starts and logged 813 2/3 innings at second base for Boston. The 6-foot-2, 213-pounder graded well in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (+6) and Outs Above Average (+10), but there were some concerns about his arm strength. Per Baseball Savant, Story averaged 76.1 mph on his throws last season, which ranked 61st among 70 qualified second basemen and was down from his 79.1 mph average velocity as a shortstop in 2021.
Because the Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency last month, all signs pointed to Story becoming Boston’s everyday shortstop in 2023. This latest development will obviously prevent that from happening, at least to start the season. It may also lead to Bloom and Co. further exploring the free agent and trade market in order to bolster the club’s infield depth up the middle.
Internally, Christian Arroyo and Enrique Hernandez are two candidates who could take over for Story at second base, though the Red Sox would almost certainly prefer to keep Hernandez in center field. Elsewhere on the 40-man roster, Ceddanne Rafaela, Enmanuel Valdez, and David Hamilton all have infield experience in the minor-leagues, but neither of the three have yet to make their major-league debuts.
Regardless of which direction they go in to fill the void left by Story, the Red Sox undoubtedly have their work cut out for them with spring training set to begin in five weeks.
(Picture of Trevor Story: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)