Red Sox Avoid Disaster On Hanley Ramirez Injury
The Boston Red Sox spent plenty of money this offseason in acquiring big-ticket free agents Hanley Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pablo Sandoval from the San Francisco Giants. They also traded for starting pitchers Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello and Wade Miley and signed the latter two to big extensions. This shouldn’t be a last-place team but that’s where Boston is entering Tuesday with a 12-14 mark.
Not Exactly A Smooth Outfielder
The news nearly got much worse. Ramirez, who is batting .283 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs, left Monday’s game early and the fear was a serious injury on his shoulder. In the first inning on Monday against Tampa bay, Ramirez injured his shoulder while attempting to catch a hard James Loney liner to left field at Fenway Park. He momentarily trapped the ball in his glove before a collision with the left field sidewall jarred it loose. Ramirez has never played the outfield before this season.
Ramirez was shaken up and crouched down on the field for several moments while members of the Red Sox training staff surrounded him. He eventually walked back to the dugout under his own power and was replaced by Allen Craig in left field. Shoulder woes have dogged Ramirez in the past. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder at the end of the ’07 season. In ’11, Ramirez suffered a left shoulder strain that kept him out for the final two months and necessitated surgery.
But thankfully for Boston, an MRI came up clean on Ramirez’s shoulder. He showed improved range of motion on Tuesday and is hoping to avoid the disabled list, but he’ll be out for at least a handful of games. The 31-year-old slugger might be back this weekend.
Sox Can’t Pitch
A healthy Ramirez is vital to Boston’s hopes, as the Red Sox need all the runs they can get thanks to their disaster of a pitching staff. Only the Colorado Rockies have allowed more than Boston’s 5.35 runs per game this season, and no team in baseball has worse rotation ERA than the Red Sox’ 5.73 mark. That would be more than half a run worse than the previous all-time worst ERA by any rotation in Red Sox history. (current record: 5.19, by the 2012 edition).
Ramirez also has propped up a disappointing lineup. Mike Napoli, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are each currently sporting an OPS below .700. Injuries have forced top catching prospect Blake Swihart to the majors ahead of schedule and charged him with improving another sagging spot in the lineup. Right field has been a black hole (.144/.250/.222): Shane Victorino is back on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, Craig and Daniel Nava are both off to poor starts, and Brock Holt’s bat has gone cold. Boston desperately needs its four star hitters — Ramirez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Sandoval — to carry the team right now.
The Sox host Tampa on Wednesday behind Masterson, who is a -121 favorite at BetOnline. He hasn’t been too bad with a 2-0 record and 4.71 ERA. Masterson has also had back-to-back quality starts, although the Red Sox would lose both. He hasn’t faced Tampa this season.
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