Red Sox’ Eric Hosmer targeting Monday return from injured list

Like Trevor Story, Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer could return before the end of the season.

Hosmer, who has been on the injured list since August 21 with low back inflammation, took live batting practice against Kutter Crawford at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon.

When speaking with reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) prior to Wednesday’s contest against the Orioles, Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated that Hosmer could be ready for the final series of the season with the Rays beginning on Monday.

Since the minor-league season is over, however, Hosmer would not have the benefit of going out on a rehab assignment. The 32-year-old would instead stay behind and face live pitching in Boston while the Red Sox visit the Blue Jays in Toronto over the weekend.

“He hit today. Let’s see how he reacts to that and we’ll go from there,” Cora said of Hosmer. “There’s no at-bats right now [in the Minors], but obviously, if somebody stays back [from the road trip], another live BP, and I do believe by Monday he’ll be OK for the Rays series. Just the running part of it today. He hit, he ran. Let’s see how reacts tomorrow and we’ll see what we do.”

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome ahead of last month’s trade deadline. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s contract down to the minimum.

Hosmer, who is under club control through 2025, has appeared in just 12 games with the Sox. In those 12 games, the left-handed hitter has batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts over 45 plate appearances.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story could return for final series of season against Rays

If Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story plays again this season, it will come in the team’s final series of the year against the Rays at Fenway Park next week.

Story, who has been sidelined with a left heel contusion since September 11, continues to feel discomfort when he runs. The Red Sox originally thought it was a day-to-day injury, but later opted to place the veteran infielder on the 10-day injured list last Monday.

With time running out on the season, manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that Story would not play in this weekend’s series in Toronto because he does not want the 29-year-old running on the turf at Rogers Centre.

“We’re trying,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne). “He’s out there taking grounders. The running progression is the hard part. The moving around and the swinging the bat has been OK, but when he gets to that 70-75 percent, that’s when he feels it. We’re still working, and hopefully he can play a few games.”

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal with Boston in March, has been limited to just 94 games this season due to two stints on the injured list. He missed more than six weeks of action earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist.

Upon returning from the IL in late August, the right-handed hitter put together a productive 13-game stretch before slipping on the first-base bag in Baltimore earlier this month. He has now missed each of the Red Sox’ last 13 games coming into play on Tuesday and will miss at least five more through the weekend.

When healthy, Story has batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts in 396 trips to the plate. He has also posted five Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Outs Above Average in 813 2/3 innings at second base.

If Story is able to run without any sort of discomfort in the coming days, he should have the chance to end his first season in a Red Sox uniform on an encouraging note and — perhaps more importantly — on his own terms.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Trevor Story on injured list with left heel contusion, recall Bobby Dalbec from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed second baseman Trevor Story on the 10-day injured list with a left heel contusion. In a corresponding move, first baseman/third baseman Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Story has not played since September 11, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. At that time, it was not believed that the 29-year-old would be sidelined for long.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said several times over the last 11 days that Story could be back in the lineup soon, but that timeline kept getting pushed back to the point where a trip to the injured list became necessary.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to Sept. 19, Story will first be eligible to be activated one week from Thursday. The Red Sox will have just seven games remaining on their schedule at that point, so they could very well elect to shut down the veteran infielder for the remainder of the year.

Story, who is in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract, spent more than six weeks on the injured list earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. Upon returning from the IL, the right-handed hitter batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts across 13 games (54 plate appearances) before injuring his heel two Sundays ago.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Story has slashed .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 132 strikeouts over 94 games and 396 trips to the plate. He has also been one of the better defensive second baseman in the American League when healthy.

With Story out of action for the time being, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez, and Yu Chang figure to see the lion’s share of their playing time come at second base. Chang will be making his second start there for Boston on Thursday.

Dalbec, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox after being sent down on Sept. 4, when fellow first baseman Triston Casas was called up from Worcester. From the time he was demoted, the 27-year-old slugger appeared in 13 games for the WooSox and went 12-for-48 (.250) with five home runs and eight runs driven in.

At the big-league level this season, Dalbec has struggled to a .211/.282/.362 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 111 games (340 plate appearances). He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup.

(Picture of Trevor Story: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Nathan Eovaldi aiming to pitch again this season; Trevor Story could return on Tuesday

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi threw a four-inning simulated game at Fenway Park on Sunday morning. The right-hander faced the likes of Abraham Almonte, Tommy Pham, and Trevor Story while throwing approximately 65 pitches.

“It felt good,” Eovaldi told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) prior to Sunday’s 13-3 win over the Royals. “I was trying to use all my pitches. It’s a little tough to get going early in the morning. But I felt like I was finishing my pitches for the most part and I mixed them all up.”

Eovaldi, who last pitched for the Red Sox on August 12, has been on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation since Aug. 19. If the 32-year-old wakes up on Monday morning with no complications, he could be in line to make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park later this week.

“He looked good,” manager Alex Cora said. “Now we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He mixed everything up. A lot of splits and the slider and the curveball. The quality of the fastball was OK. So now it’s just a matter of how he reacts to it and what’s the next step. Obviously we’re running out of time as far as games and all that stuff. So we’ll see what’s next.”

As noted by MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Eovaldi would be on track to make two more starts with Boston before the end of the season if he rehabs with the WooSox on Friday. The veteran hurler has been limited to just 18 starts this year due to two lengthy stints on the injured list.

“I’d love to pitch in front of the home crowd again,” said Eovaldi, who is eligible for free agency this winter and has yet to discuss a contract extension with the Red Sox despite wanting to return to Boston.

Story, meanwhile, has been sidelined since last Sunday, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore.

Cora was initially optimistic that Story would be back for this weekend’s series against the Royals, but that did not happen as expected. Still, the 29-year-old second baseman took an important step forward on Sunday by facing off against Eovaldi as well as running the bases.

Depending on how he feels over the next two days, Story could return to the Red Sox lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds in Cincinnati.

“With Trevor, it’s about running right now,” Cora said. “He ran the bases today. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. I’ve been saying this for a few days: the goal is for him to play the next day. So we just have to be patient with it.”

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi and Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story (left heel pain) remains out of Red Sox Sox lineup, targeting weekend return

Trevor Story is not in the Red Sox’ starting lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Royals at Fenway Park. The second baseman has missed each of Boston’s last two games after banging his left feel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore.

Earlier this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora had been optimistic that Story would be able to return by Friday at the latest. That no longer appears possible, but Cora remains hopeful that the 29-year-old will be back in the lineup at some point this weekend.

“He’s doing a little better,” Cora said of Story (via MLB.com’s Ian Browne), who is officially dealing with left heel pain. “We’re going to push him tomorrow to do more baseball activities. Hopefully he can post tomorrow or Sunday.”

Story, who was sidelined for more than six weeks earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist, has batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts in 13 games (54 plate appearances) since returning from the injured list on August 27.

With Story out of the lineup, Christian Arroyo is starting at second base in his place while also batting seventh on Friday.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox injury updates: Alex Cora provides latest on Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to exit Tuesday’s 8-4 loss to the Rays in the seventh inning due to back spasms, manager Alex Cora said.

Bogaerts went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before leaving Tuesday’s contest at Tropicana Field early. He grounded into a double play in the top of the sixth and appeared to be in visible pain as he was running to first base.

While Bogaerts was able to take the field for the bottom of the sixth, he could not do the same in the seventh after making the team aware of how he was feeling.

“He came in the sixth inning and told us he was locked up,” said Cora. “We’ll stay away from him tomorrow and then we’ll see how he feels for Friday.”

This is not the first time this season Bogaerts has dealt with back spasms. The 29-year-old was also pulled in the seventh inning of an August 23 game against the Blue Jays for the very same reason. He was out of the lineup the following day but returned to action on Aug. 25.

In this case, the Red Sox are once again optimistic that Bogaerts will only need to miss one game. Boston wraps up its three-game set with the Rays on Wednesday before having an off day on Thursday as it travels to Baltimore for a weekend series against the Orioles.

By going hitless on Tuesday, Bogaerts saw his nine-game multi-hit streak come to an end. The right-handed hitter is now batting .315/.382/.466 on the season to go along with 37 doubles, 12 home runs, 63 RBIs, 77 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 48 walks, and 105 strikeouts over 130 games and 547 plate appearances.

Martinez a late scratch

On the topic of back issues, J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup due to back tightness. Martinez was replaced by Christian Arroyo, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored and strikeout as Boston’s designated hitter.

The veteran slugger has now missed each of the Red Sox’ last three games, but is expected to be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale against Tampa Bay.

Dating back to the All-Star break, Martinez is slashing just .205/.277/.303 with seven doubles, two homers, 13 runs driven in, 12 runs scored, 13 walks, and 39 strikeouts across his last 35 games. The 35-year-old is slated to become a free-agent this winter.

Pivetta good to go

Nick Pivetta will get the start for the Red Sox in their final game at Tropicana Field this year. The right-hander was forced to leave his last outing early due to a left knee contusion that came as a result of being hit by a 91.4 mph grounder off the bat of Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras.

Starting opposite of Pivetta will be Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero suffers right ankle sprain, will undergo MRI on Tuesday

Red Sox left fielder Franchy Cordero sprained his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

With one out and one runner on, Cordero attempted to track down a 358-foot fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena. He wound up running into the wall, however, as his right cleat got caught in the padding of the left field fence. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain.

After remaining on the warning track for a brief period, Cordero was visited by Red Sox manager Alex Cora and associate head athletic trainer Brandon Henry. Unable to put any weight on that right leg, Cordero was carted off the field and replaced in left by Rob Refsnyder.

While Cordero was initially diagnosed with a right ankle sprain, Cora provided an update after the game and revealed that the 28-year-old would be undergoing an MRI on Tuesday to ensure that there is no ligament damage.

“Franchy, he’s OK,” Cora said. “He’s going to get an MRI tomorrow to see if there’s ligament damage. We doubt it. But of course, we have to wait and see. He’s sore, of course, but we’ll wait and see for tomorrow.”

Both Cora and Cordero feared for the worst when contact was made with the wall. But Cordero seemed to be in better spirits despite being on crutches when explaining what went wrong on the play that ultimately resulted in an RBI double for Arozarena.

“I tried to field the ball and in this ballpark with the artificial grass you don’t feel the warning track, so you don’t know how close you are to the wall,” Cordero said through interpreter Carlos Villoria Benítez. “But so far the scans of everything have been negative. It’s just a sprained ankle.

“In the beginning, it felt really bad, but as I was coming to the clubhouse it was feeling better,” he added. “At first, I felt it was something worse than it was.”

As of now, it is not yet clear how much time Cordero — who went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts on Monday — will miss because of this ankle sprain. Tuesday’s MRI will likely provide the Red Sox with more information as well as a possible timetable.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ James Paxton suffers Grade 2 lat tear, ending left-hander’s season

Red Sox left-hander James Paxton has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 tear in his left latissimus dorsi muscle, manager Alex Cora announced Thursday. He has been shut down from throwing and his season is now over.

This diagnosis comes exactly one week after Paxton was forced to exit his first rehab start in the Florida Complex League after facing just two batters due to left lat tightness.

While the Red Sox were initially hopeful that Paxton’s injury was minor, an MRI later revealed a Grade 2 tear, thus ending the 33-year-old southpaw’s season before it really even started.

Paxton originally signed a unique one-year, $6 million contract with Boston back in December. The deal includes a two-year, $26 million club option that the Red Sox can pick up at the end of the season. If they decline, Paxton could then exercise a $4 million player option for the 2023 campaign.

Given that he had undergone Tommy John surgery while with the Mariners last April, the Red Sox likely were not banking on Paxton pitching key innings for them in 2022. The veteran lefty was shut down for a period of time earlier this spring due to posterior elbow soreness, which further delayed his rehab. Still, he could have provided the Sox with some sort of boost down the stretch were it not for this latest, season-ending setback.

It should now be interesting to see how the Red Sox decide to roll with Paxton, who turns 34 in November, this off-season. Committing $26 million to a pitcher who has been limited to just six starts and 21 1/3 innings since the start of the 2020 season would certainly be risky.

At the same, time, however, Paxton has proven to be an effective starter in the major-leagues when healthy. From 2016-2019, for instance, the Canadian-born hurler pitched to a 3.60 ERA and 3.16 FIP in 101 total starts (568 innings) with the Mariners and Yankees.

If chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. elect to decline Paxton’s two-year player option, it would then be interesting to see how the Boras Corp. client responds. He could choose to exercise his player option and return to the Red Sox on a prove-it kind of deal next season. On the flip side, he could choose to test the free agency waters again over the winter.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) on Thursday. “We saw the guy making progress and getting to the point that he was actually getting to throw real games and that happened. As far as his arm and all that, we were very excited about it. Now it’s just see what we decide and what he decides. So we’ll get there when we get there.”

(Picture of James Paxton: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi will not start for Red Sox on Tuesday, could be headed for injured list

Nathan Eovaldi will not make his next scheduled start for the Red Sox on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) in Williamsport, Pa. earlier Sunday afternoon.

Eovaldi, who had his last turn through the rotation skipped because of a sore right trapezius muscle, has not bounced back the way the Red Sox were hoping and will therefore not be available for Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. It remains to be seen if he will require a stint on the injured list.

“Nate is not going to start on Tuesday,” Cora said. “He hasn’t been able to bounce back in the same area, the trap, kind of, like, in there. IL, we don’t know yet. But he won’t start on Tuesday. That’s where we’re at.”

Eovaldi last pitched against the Yankees on August 12, allowing two runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over six innings of work. The veteran right-hander also flashed diminished velocity, averaging just 94.4 mph with his four-seam fastball, which was down from his yearly average of 95.9 mph.

When it was revealed that Eovaldi would not start against the Pirates last Thursday, the 32-year-old hurler said he first experienced the soreness around his right trap a few days after his most-recent outing. He also indicated that, if it were up to him, he could have pitched in Pittsburgh.

“But we’re playing it safe,” said Eovaldi, via The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I’m just going to skip this turn and be ready to go Tuesday against Toronto.”

That will no longer be the case, though Eovaldi remains optimistic he can avoid the injured list.

“It’s frustrating. I feel like it’s going a little slower than we anticipated but I’m feeling a lot better,” Eovaldi told Browne on Sunday. “Every day, it’s just how can we make sure that I’m 100 percent especially going down the road for this next stretch. That’s the main goal, to avoid [the IL].”

Fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski wound up starting in Eovaldi’s place on Thursday and got rocked for seven runs over five innings. The 24-year-old rookie was optioned to Triple-A Worcester that same night.

Earlier this season, Eovaldi spent more than a month on the injured list due to low back inflammation. Since returning on July 15, he has posted a 6.32 ERA and 4.43 FIP with 24 strikeouts to eight walks over his last six starts and 31 1/3 innings. That includes a 2.95 ERA in the month of August.

If Eovaldi winds up going on the injured list again, Winckowski would be a logical choice to replace him in Boston’s starting rotation. Although he was only optioned three days ago, Winckowski can be recalled at any time as long as he is replacing an injured player. In this case, that would be Eovaldi.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs day-to-day after spraining left ankle in Worcester

Red Sox infield prospect Jeter Downs sprained his left ankle in Triple-A Worcester’s 9-8 win over the Rochester Red Wings at Polar Park on Thursday night.

With two outs in the fifth inning, Downs roped a single to left field and attempted to turn it into a double. He instead tripped halfway between first and second base and immediately grabbed at his left ankle.

After being tagged out, Downs remained on the ground in visible pain. He was escorted off the field by WooSox outfielder Abraham Almonte and bench coach Jose Flores, though he was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped to the Worcester dugout.

On Friday afternoon, Downs was seen limping around the WooSox’ clubhouse. He was not in the starting lineup for Friday’s contest against Rochester and is considered day-to-day, per manager Chad Tracy.

“We all think a sprained ankle is like going to the outside. It’s more of an inward sprain,” Tracy said, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “So hopefully, not too long. “It’s hard to say. Day-to-day right now. Let him do treatment like crazy and see where we’re at when we get through the weekend.”

Downs, 24, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In 81 games with the WooSox this season, the right-handed hitter has batted .197/.316/.412 (95 wRC+) to go along with 11 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 33 RBIs, 56 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 99 strikeouts over 335 plate appearances.

One of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade in February 2020, Downs made his major-league debut for the Red Sox in June. In two stints (June 20-23, July 9-30) with the big-league club thus far, the native Colombian has slashed .154/.171/.256 (8 wRC+) with one double, one homer, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and 21 strikeouts across 14 games spanning 41 trips to the plate.

Traditionally a middle infielder throughout his minor-league career, Downs debuted for Boston at third base and has since been worth one out above average over 32 innings at the position in the majors.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)