FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox remain hopeful Thomas Pomeranz will make his first start as planned on April 9, but the left-hander will begin the season on the disabled list with a forearm flexor strain.Boston placed Pomeranz on the 10-day DL on Thursday, a day after manager John
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox remain hopeful Thomas Pomeranz will make his first start as planned on April 9, but the left-hander will begin the season on the disabled list with a forearm flexor strain.
Boston placed Pomeranz on the 10-day DL on Thursday, a day after manager John Farrell admitted he couldn't put his "rubber stamp" of approval yet on the lefty.
Pomeranz has not suffered a new injury, but he is still being stretched out after a forearm injury last year and a stem cell injection in the offseason delayed his progress this spring. Pomeranz last pitched Wednesday, allowing three runs in four innings against the Twins.
When the Red Sox open their season at Fenway Park against the Pirates on Monday, Pomeranz will pitch that same day in a Minor League exhibition game in Fort Myers. Aside from having one hiccup in his second Grapefruit League start -- a nagging triceps issue that shortened his outing by one inning -- Pomeranz has stayed on the program the training staff set out for him.
"It's become more and more clear to us that he's not ready to begin the season," said Farrell. "So his start on Monday is still scheduled, but following the protocol that is in the throwing program outlined in the procedure last fall, knowing that he was coming in a little bit behind because of the procedure, and then the day that he was shortened somewhat by the triceps issue, he's not ready to begin the season right now."
After that outing on Monday, the club should know whether he can pitch the sixth game of the season on the road against the Tigers. Because of an off-day Tuesday, Opening Day starter Rick Porcello can also start the fifth game of the season on regular rest, buying one more day for Pomeranz.
"We're hopeful," said Farrell. "But certainly not guaranteeing it. As much as we talked about yesterday with the challenges of Monday's environment in the game, we still need to see some uptick in the overall stuff and continued building of pitch count."
If Pomeranz can't go, non-roster invitee Kyle Kendrick would be a candidate to replace him. Kendrick gave up one run and struck out five over four innings in Boston's 8-1 win over Washington on Thursday, but he was reassigned to Minor League camp earlier this week, so he won't open the season on Boston's roster.
Until Pomeranz can be activated on April 9, the Red Sox will probably carry an extra reliever.
The current bullpen consists of Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Richard Hembree, Robbie Ross Jr., Fernando Abad and Robby Scott. This opens up a spot for some non-roster invites who have impressed the Red Sox this spring, including Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor and Austin Maddox.
Pomeranz won't be the only Boston starter to begin the season on the disabled list. David Price hasn't pitched yet this spring due to a sore left elbow, but he hasn't been officially placed on the DL. Setup man Tyler Thornburg will also start the season on the DL with an impingement in his right shoulder.
"Pitching injuries are always a concern," said Farrell. "The fact that they're to a main cog in our rotation and to the guy that we had targeted as our eighth-inning guy, yeah, those are concerns. But it's an opportunity for others to step up and perform."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.