Boston Red Sox: Latest News on Every Recently Injured Key Player

Dave GrotzContributor IIJanuary 29, 2013

Boston Red Sox: Latest News on Every Recently Injured Key Player

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    The Boston Red Sox had a plethora of injuries in 2012. Twenty-seven players, including several major contributors, served a combined 34 stints on the disabled list.

    One promising Red Sox player will already land on the DL before the 2013 season even starts.

    To address the recent flux of injuries, the team even added a new medical director, Dr. Larry Ronan, according to ESPN Boston.

    Ben Cherington addressed the importance of health for the Red Sox to be competitive.

    "We know we need to keep players on the field more in order to have success."

    While one player will likely land on the DL, several other key players look to bounce back after their season-ending injuries in 2012.

    Without these major contributors on the field, it will be very difficult for the Red Sox to be successful in 2013.

    The slideshow features injury updates on all of them.

David Ortiz

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    David Ortiz was performing like one of the best hitters in the league until his Achilles injury.

    The designated hitter played just 90 games in 2012, and he played in just one game—August 24—after June 16.

    Prior to his season-ending injury, Ortiz hit .318 and slugged .611 with 26 doubles, 23 home runs, 60 runs batted in and a .415 on base percentage. Over the course of 150 games, an average season length for him, Big Papi was on pace for approximately 43 doubles, 38 HRs and 100 RBI.

    Despite injuring a very fragile tendon in his body, Bobby Valentine openly criticized the veteran slugger in an interview on "Costas Tonight."

    However, Ortiz claimed he was still experiencing "an incredible amount of pain" the day after he returned from the disabled list.

    "The day that I returned from the DL, I told him that I was not sure what percentage health-wise I was in," Ortiz said in response to Bobby V’s criticism, according to ESPN Boston, "but that I could not be out there without trying to help."

    Given his extended time off to heal his injury during the regular season and this offseason, Ortiz will be ready for spring training. John Farrell said that his player is “on track to participate fully in spring training,” according to The Boston Globe.

    Ortiz enters his 10th season with the Boston Red Sox as healthy and poised to be a major contributor again in Boston’s lineup.

Will Middlebrooks

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    Will Middlebrooks was a pleasant surprise for the Boston Red Sox in 2012.

    However, his emergence lasted only 75 games.

    After earning the starting job at third base over Kevin Youkilis, Middlebrooks fractured his right wrist and was placed on the 60-day DL in August, which ended his season.

    The promising third baseman played his last game on August 10. Prior to the injury, the 24-year-old hit .288 and slugged .509 with 14 doubles, 15 homers and 54 runs batted in over that span.

    Middlebrooks took advantage of his time watching baseball on the bench and learning from David Ortiz.

    "I've learned a lot and I haven't touched a bat," Middlebrooks said of his time on the DL, according to ESPN Boston. "Being hurt, believe it or not, helped me mature as a baseball player."

    Prior to the All-Star break, the young slugger hit .298 and slugged .538 with 11 doubles, 10 HRs and 37 RBI over 48 games. Over a 162 game season, Middlebrooks was on pace for approximately 30 doubles, 32 homers and 117 runs batted in.

    The 24-year-old third baseman has been taking batting practice since October 1, according to the Official Red Sox website.

    Middlebrooks frequently tweets about his batting practice sessions. He’s even started hitting off pitchers throwing batting practice and is "excited to see how it goes against live pitching," according to MLB.com.

    Middlebrooks is listed as probable for spring training, and he could be one of the team’s best hitters in 2013.

John Lackey

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    John Lackey missed all of the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November 2011.

    The Boston Red Sox shelved their expensive starting pitcher for a season, after posting a 26-23 record, 5.26 ERA and 1.50 WHIP since joining the team in 2010.

    Ben Cherington attributed Lackey’s struggles to his ailing, throwing elbow.

    "Clearly, at some point, [Lackey] was pitching hurt—certainly was pitching hurt in 2011," Cherington said of his starting pitcher, according to CBS Sports. "To his credit he gutted it out, took a lot of bullets in the process, because he couldn’t do the things he was used to doing."

    However, after sitting out all of 2012, Lackey will enter spring training "as a healthy starting pitcher." The GM expects to see "a very good version of John Lackey in 2013."

    The former Angel even threw his first live session on September 8. Instead of trying to force a late-season comeback, Lackey rested and rehabbed at the end of 2012.

    Barring any setbacks, Lackey will enter the 2013 healthy and try to bounce back after two frustrating seasons with the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011.

Ryan Kalish

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    Ryan Kalish made a big splash onto the MLB scene in the final months of the 2010 season.

    However, he's played just 36 games since 2010 and has landed on the disabled list several times.

    On top of that, he will enter the 2013 season on the DL.

    Kalish missed all of the 2011 season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. Now, he will miss the start of the 2013 season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

    The 24-year-old claimed he won’t rush his come back and return until he is "fully healthy."

    "I'm not thinking relatively healthy, I'm thinking fully healthy," Kalish said about his timetable, according to ESPN Boston. "That's my ultimate goal, to be fully healthy and to be ready to compete."

    Kalish even stayed in Boston this winter and worked out four days a week to improve his strength and conditioning, according to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

    In the wake of his recent injury, the Boston Red Sox re-signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who struggled and was also frequently injured in 2012.

    Kalish is listed as questionable for the start of the season and will undergo surgery on Tuesday.

    The soon-to-be 25-year-old is a tremendous fielder with great speed and All-Star potential, but injuries have hampered his ability to become a full-time starter.

    Kalish will start the season on the disabled list then likely in AAA, before making his first MLB stint in 2013.