Posted on September 16, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The shoulder issues that have plagued Boston Red Sox DH for much of the season have popped up again late in the regular season. To make matters worse, that shoulder trouble is now accompanied by biceps soreness. Ramirez has started just two of Boston’s last six games and has not played since Wednesday. The reoccurrence of an injury that Ramirez has been fighting since spring training places doubt on how much the Red Sox will be able to rely on their DH down the stretch.
“I think it’s been more of a flare-up of some of the things he’s been dealing with and it reached the point where when he came in yesterday it was even more present,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Friday. “He just feels like he can’t trigger. It’s the left shoulder, so as he gets to the point of contact, it’s — as he describes it — not feeling like he can fire through as he typically does.”
Ramirez underwent on an MRI on his left biceps on Friday. The results showed some inflammation but no structural damage. That leaves Ramirez listed as day-to-day but offers no clarity on when he’ll be able to return or how much he’ll be able to play during the final two weeks of the regular season.
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This has not been the best season for the 33-year old Ramirez, who has moved into a full-time DH role for the first time in his career. He’s hitting a career-low .238. However, he’s been able to contribute 22 home runs and 20 doubles. Despite battling a balky shoulder for much of the year, Ramirez has avoided the DL and managed to play 123 games. He’s been an important part of Boston’s lineup and someone who will be missed if he can’t return to the lineup in short order.
The silver lining of Ramirez missing time is that it allows Farrell to use Dustin Pedroia at DH. Pedroia has had two separate stints on the DL this season because of a chronic knee issue. Putting him at DH is a good way for the Red Sox to rest him without losing his bat from the lineup.
Of course, Pedroia at DH means Brock Holt playing second base. Holt is hitting just .175 this season after missing a significant chunk of the season with vertigo. Unfortunately, if the Red Sox want to rest Pedroia, Holt is the only option at second base until Eduardo Nunez returns from a knee injury. Nunez has been out for a week, but the Red Sox remain optimistic he’ll be out soon.
“The development with (Nunez) have been very encouraging,” said Farrell. “I thought today’s early work, the way he moved around, the way he swung the bat, that’s been a really positive development. Hopefully that day is getting closer that he gets back in the lineup.”
With Holt struggling, Nunez out, and the health of Ramirez and Pedroia in question, there is a great deal of uncertainty in Boston’s lineup these days. The Red Sox are clinging to a three-game lead over the Yankees atop the AL East. Even if the Red Sox stumble down the stretch and lose the division, they should have the wild card as a backup plan. But the potential absence of Ramirez is something to be aware of heading into the postseason.