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Pomeranz 'not too worried' about forearm issue

Tightness forces left-hander to exit first Grapefruit League start after 17 pitches
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Though Drew Pomeranz departed his first Grapefruit League start after just 17 pitches due to tightness in his left forearm, the 29-year-old said his concern level is "very low" about the injury.

This is a relief for the Red Sox, considering Pomeranz is coming off a career year in 2017, when he went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 174 strikeouts.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Though Drew Pomeranz departed his first Grapefruit League start after just 17 pitches due to tightness in his left forearm, the 29-year-old said his concern level is "very low" about the injury.

This is a relief for the Red Sox, considering Pomeranz is coming off a career year in 2017, when he went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 174 strikeouts.

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But the true test will come over the next couple of days to see if Pomeranz has any residual soreness. He will receive further evaluation from the team's medical staff on Saturday.

Pomeranz breezed through a 1-2-3 first inning against the Cardinals, but he started to feel some tightness when he warmed up for the second inning.

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The count was 2-2 on Cardinals designated hitter Marcell Ozuna when Red Sox manager Alex Cora and assistant trainer Masai Takahashi came to check on Pomeranz, who walked off the mound just moments later.

"Maybe something just got a little tight, getting a little amped up for this game," Pomeranz said. "I felt pretty good in the first inning. Just felt a little tightness going out there in that second inning. It was just something I didn't really feel like pushing in my first outing and came in here and the trainers checked it out, so everything seems fine. I guess I'll see how I feel coming in the next couple of days."

"Forearm tightness -- he's going to see a doctor and then we'll go from there," said Cora. "From what I heard, he's not too concerned [about] it, so hopefully the best. That was a bad feeling, honestly. As a manager, I was like 'Whoa, I'm the manager now.' Just go out there and whatever. We're hoping he's fine. The way he's talking, [it] looks like he's fine."

Rotation depth for the Red Sox early in the season is already a concern, as Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright are both expected to open the year on the disabled list.

Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello are all healthy at the front of the rotation. Though Pomeranz doesn't generate the same level of hype as they do, his performance last year demonstrates his importance to the club this season.

"My hope is that he keeps throwing the ball the way he did last year," Cora said before the game. "Sometimes we get caught up talking about the lefties, we talk about Sale, we talk about David and you forget how good Drew is. He's one of those rare pitchers in this era that pitches inside, which I think is great. His breaking ball is great, very deceptive, so if he has a season like last year the way he threw the ball, I'd be happy with that."

Two years ago, Pomeranz pitched through a left forearm injury and wound up having a stem cell injection during the offseason.

How did Friday's discomfort compare to 2016?

"Nothing like I had before. That's why I'm not too worried about it," Pomeranz said. "Pretty sure this is probably nothing. We've been taking it pretty slow, anyways, so I don't want to push anything. Give myself enough time to be ready for the season."

Eligible for free agency at the end of the season, Pomeranz says his contract situation isn't on his mind.

"I'm always out there trying to prove myself," Pomeranz said. "Just trying to stay in that thought process."

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

Boston Red Sox, Drew Pomeranz