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Hembree, Wright not expected to return soon

Eovaldi explains history of Players' Weekend nickname
@IanMBrowne
August 6, 2019

BOSTON -- Injuries to Red Sox righty relievers Heath Hembree and Steven Wright have reached the point where you shouldn’t expect to see them pitching anytime soon. Hembree received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection for his ailing right elbow on Tuesday. Wright, who hasn’t pitched since getting smoked on the

BOSTON -- Injuries to Red Sox righty relievers Heath Hembree and Steven Wright have reached the point where you shouldn’t expect to see them pitching anytime soon.

Hembree received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection for his ailing right elbow on Tuesday.

Wright, who hasn’t pitched since getting smoked on the left foot by a line drive against the Dodgers on July 13, has an appointment on Wednesday with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., to get his right elbow examined.

There was a time earlier in the season when Hembree was Boston’s most effective option in relief. But he went on the injured list June 14 with a right elbow extensor strain and didn’t pitch well when he returned, showing diminished velocity. Hembree went back on the IL with right-lateral elbow inflammation on Aug. 2.

“It’s not on the inside part of the elbow,” manager Alex Cora said of the shot Hembree received. “It’s on the outside part of the elbow. It’s not his ligament. It’s not like, the reddest of red flags, I guess.”

There is no timetable for Hembree. But Cora added, “We’ll see, but we expect him to pitch this season.”

The Red Sox won’t be sure if Wright can return until after his visit with Dr. Andrews.

The knuckleballer has had a disjointed last three seasons to say the least. Wright made just five starts in 2017 before undergoing cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee.

The recovery from that major surgery limited Wright to 20 appearances last season, most of them in the bullpen.

He was suspended for the first 80 games of this season for violating MLB’s drug policy. Wright was able to pitch in just six games before his injury against Los Angeles.

“Throughout the season, his knee was good, but his arm was kind of like, he felt like he could pitch but he wasn’t at his best,” Cora said. “He played catch the other day. He didn’t feel too comfortable so we’re going to send him down there and see Dr. Andrews to see if there’s anything going on.”

Nitro Nate highlights Players’ Weekend nicknames

On Tuesday, MLB announced the return of Players’ Weekend for a third straight season. It will take place Aug. 23-25, when the Red Sox will be in San Diego.

A top candidate for best nickname for a Red Sox player is “Nitro” for flame-throwing reliever Nathan Eovaldi.

Every team’s Players’ Weekend nicknames

As you might have guessed, the nickname -- first given to Eovaldi by his high school coach Mike Rogers -- was bestowed on Eovaldi due to his explosive fastball.

“It was given to me a long time ago and I’ve just kind of kept it with the fastball and how hard I throw,” said Eovaldi. “I threw hard in high school. I wasn’t as consistent as I am now, but I could still get it up there. I had a couple of nicknames throughout the years.”

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was “X” for the original Players’ Weekend and Bogie last year, has switched it up to X-Man. David Price is going with “X” in honor of his young son Xavier. Cora was “AC” the last two years but is switching to “Skipper.”

Bogaerts gets a rare day off

All-Star shortstop Bogaerts, who leads the Red Sox with 111 starts in the team’s first 115 games, was given a night to rest on Tuesday.

Bogaerts played in the first 25 games of the second half, during which the Red Sox have had just one day off. The last game in which Bogaerts didn’t play was on July 6 at Detroit.

“Yeah, he needs one of those,” said Cora of the rest day. “He’s been playing a lot. Yesterday after he scored in the seventh or the eighth, you could see he was dragging. We talked a little about it last night and this morning. Just an off-day and be ready for tomorrow.”

The good news was that slugger J.D. Martinez was back in the lineup after missing Monday with tightness in his back. Mookie Betts, who left the game in the eighth inning Monday with a left shin contusion, was in the leadoff spot.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.