The Boston Red Sox currently hold the American League’s second-best, and the majors’ third-best, record at 45-32. A combination of good pitching and the most potent offense in all of baseball has propelled the team back into contention after that terrible 2-10 start.
However, all is not right in the Back Bay.
The Red Sox currently have seven members of their 40-man roster on the disabled list, two of whom are out for the season. They are missing two starters while another pair of lineup regulars are battling through injuries. One starter has just come off the DL and one has just gone on it.
Injuries killed Boston’s chances of a playoff run in 2010 and there is a growing fear that they could do the same thing again in 2011.
Offseason signing Carl Crawford had been having a disappointing first season with the Red Sox, batting .243 with eight stolen bases when he went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.
It is only the second time in Crawford’s career that he has gone to the DL and should be activated as soon as he is eligible, which would see him return on Sunday.
The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Crawford had swung a bat for the first time since his DL trip, so he is on course for a reasonably quick return.
Jed Lowrie’s tenure in Boston has been plagued by injuries. A wrist injury cost him a year, he missed six months with mono and now he is back on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, it is his non-throwing shoulder, though he has had conflicting reports on the severity of it. Boston will hope for a speedy recovery.
Lowrie had won the starting shortstop job from Marco Scutaro, batting .270 with 25 runs batted in and was having perhaps the best season of his career.
Clay Buchholz was the Sox’ No. 2 starter in the eyes of many before the season began.
The resurgence of Josh Beckett may have pushed him down to number three but even though he had struggled, with a 3.48 ERA he was a very good third starter.
He was sent to the DL with a back injury which had reportedly bothered him for most of last season as well.
Beckett will surely not be able to keep up his torrid pace for an entire season. The Red Sox will need Buchholz to come back and pitch well, as he was doing more often before he went down.
2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia managed to avoid a DL trip but there were discussions two weeks ago that it could be a possibility.
He said his knee was bothering him early in the season and he missed a game against the New York Yankees a fortnight ago as he was getting it checked by a doctor.
Of course, that was nothing major, but there have still been concerns that he is battling through injury.
He had surgery on his thumb at the end of the 2010 season and it appears still to be bothering him, as does his hip. Youk has visibly been in pain at times this year and if he were ever to go on the DL, it would be a major loss for this lineup.