Red Sox outfielder Wilyer Abreu suffered a left hamstring strain in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 4-1 League win over the Marlins at JetBlue Park.
Abreu entered the game in the top of the seventh as a defensive replacement for starting right fielder Alex Verdugo. The left-handed hitter led off the bottom half of the frame with a line-drive single off Marlins reliever Devin Smeltzer, but he rounded the first base bag awkwardly and was in clear discomfort as a result.
After getting checked out by Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a member of the team’s training staff, Abreu was lifted for pinch-runner Stephen Scott. The 23-year-old finished his day going 1-for-1 with a base hit in his lone plate appearance.
“Right before he stepped on the bag, he felt it,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “He felt it. He stopped right away, so that’s good. But he’ll be out for a while.”
Abreu becomes the third member of the Red Sox to sustain some sort of hamstring injury within the last week, joining catcher Connor Wong (Thursday) and left-hander James Paxton (Friday). Both Wong and Paxton have since been diagnosed with low-grade strains. It’s likely that more information regarding the severity of Abreu’s strain will become available on Monday.
The Red Sox originally acquired Abreu (and fellow prospect Enmanuel Valdez) from the Astros in the trade that sent catcher Christian Vazquez to Houston last August. Abreu closed out the 2022 season with Double-A Portland and batted .242/.399/.375 with five doubles, four home runs, 19 RBIs, 25 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 36 walks, and 45 strikeouts across 40 games (168 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs while seeing playing time at all three outfield positions.
After playing in the Arizona Fall League, Abreu was added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft. The native Venezuelan is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
Prior to getting injured on Sunday, Abreu had gotten his first spring with the Red Sox off to a solid start by going 4-for-12 (.333) with a triple, a home run, four runs driven in, five runs scored, two walks, and four strikeouts in seven Grapefruit League games. He crushed a grand slam in Thursday’s 15-3 rout of the Phillies.
As of now, it remains to be seen just how much time Abreu will miss because of this hamstring strain. Abreu, who turns 24 in June, only has 129 career games at the Double-A level under his belt and is expected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season. Because he is on the 40-man roster, though, any sort of absence could have an affect on Boston’s outfield depth in the upper-minors to begin the year.
(Picture of Wilyer Abreu: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)