Red Sox

Kimbrel out 3-6 weeks after knee surgery

Kimbrel out 3-6 weeks after knee surgery

BOSTON – The Red Sox lost closer Craig Kimbrel for three to six weeks with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee and he was placed him on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. 

Kimbrel is scheduled to have knee surgery on Monday by the team’s head orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis.

Kimbrel said the injury happened when he stepped to field a ground ball in batting practice before the game on Friday night.

“I didn’t think it was anything serious until I got in and evaluated it,” Kimbrel said

Said manager John Farrell: “He felt some discomfort when he came off the field. We’ll know more after the procedure on Monday and the subsequent rehab to follow.”

This injury is the first of its kind for Kimbrel, who has never been on the DL before.

Farrell said the Red Sox won't rush Kimbrel back.

“He’ll be back on the mound when he’s first ready to pitch to major league hitters,” Farrell said, “Regardless of who the pitcher is, [when] you have an injury to another part of the body you never want it to possibly show up another area, particularly the arm.”

Kimbrel has 17 saves in 19 chances with a 3.55 ERA and was named to the American League All-Star. He has struggled in non-save situations (6.28 ERA). He was acquired from the San Diego Padres in an offseason trade. 

With Kimbel out, Farrel said Koji Uehara and newly acquired Brad Ziegler will serve as the closers. The Red Sox will be without Ziegler for the 4:05 p.m. game Saturday with the Tampa Bay Rays becaused Ziegler's flight to Boston was expected to land at 6 p.m.

Ziegler was obtained in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks late Friday night. 

“We’ve got to get Brad here,” Farrell said. “We talked to him last night right around 1:30 a.m. when his game was finished in San Francisco. We briefly discussed not only his addition, but how things are going to shape up as our roles are changing -- for obvious reasons.”

Red Sox president of baseball operatioins Dave Dombrowski said before the game that the Ziegler trade and Kimbrel injury in no way were related -- but that it’s good the Red Sox got Ziegler when they did.

“It was apparent to me in talking to Craig after the game and getting the medical information that this is not something you want to take a chance on,” Dombrowski said. “[Kimbrel] said, ‘I might be able to go out and pitch with the way it is.’ We don’t want Craig Kimbrel to go out there and alter his delivery and be in a position where he hurts his knee more or his arm.”

After some thought, Kimbrel said he decided Saturday morning that it’d be best for him to get his knee taken care of.

“Personally I felt like I could go out and pitch and go through the pain,” Kimbrel said. “But looking at where we are in the season and what could come of going out and pitching through it. Might tamper my mechanics, might put stress on my arm or other places where we really don’t want to do that.”

Kimbrel is not the only Red Sox player bitten by the injury bug. Blake Swihart and Chris Young are on the DL,  Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw are day to day and Brock Holt and Junichi Tazawa are expected to miss the rest of the weekend. With the All-Star break after Sunday, they shouldn’t need a trip to the DL.

The Red Sox called up right-handed reliever Noe Ramirez from Triple-A Pawtucket, activated utility man Michael Martinez, acquired Friday from the Cleveland Indians, and sent infielder Marco Hernandez back to Pawtucket. 

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."