Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills has been shut down with a flexor issue and is likely to start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Thursday.
“He’s banged up,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) in Fort Myers. “There’s a good chance he’s going to start the season on the IL.”
According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Mills has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation in his right flexor muscle. It does not look like anything major but Mills has still been shut down from throwing in the meantime.
Mills has not seen any Grapefruit League action since March 13, when he surrendered four runs on four hits, one walk, and two hit batsman in the sixth inning of a 16-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Prior to that outing, though, the right-hander pitched relatively well, allowing just one run on three hits, four walks, and 10 strikeouts over four appearances spanning five innings of work.
The Red Sox acquired Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace back in December. The 28-year-old sidearmer is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.60 ERA (3.62 FIP) with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks in 27 outings (29 1/3 innings) between Seattle and Kansas City.
As noted by Smith, Boston was optimistic that Mills could replicate the same sort of success fellow reliever John Schreiber enjoyed last year. That being the case because, like Schreiber, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Mills throws from the same angle and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a sinker.
“The stuff, the uniqueness, the slot is different,” Cora said of Mills. ““And actually the four-seamer is good. When he used it a lot in games, he got some swings-and-misses on top of the zone. A little bit inconsistent control-wise, command-wise. But you can see it, like that uniqueness of throwing from there. And the action of his pitches is very good.”
Mills, who has one minor-league option remaining, becomes the latest Red Sox pitcher to be bitten by the injury bug this spring. The righty joins Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock as Boston hurlers who are expected to be placed on the injured list before Opening Day.
Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain on Monday after injuring his right side over the weekend, may be able to avoid the 60-day injured list, per Cora.
(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)