FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox left-hander Thomas Pomeranz underwent an MRI on Saturday that revealed a mild flexor tendon strain in his left elbow.Though the Red Sox are hopeful Pomeranz can still start the season on time, he will get re-evaluated on Tuesday and won't throw again before that.The
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox left-hander Thomas Pomeranz underwent an MRI on Saturday that revealed a mild flexor tendon strain in his left elbow.
Though the Red Sox are hopeful Pomeranz can still start the season on time, he will get re-evaluated on Tuesday and won't throw again before that.
The results came a day after Pomeranz was removed from his Grapefruit League start against the Cardinals after just 17 pitches with what was described as tightness in his forearm.
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"Just the flexor tendon strain. No structural damage," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora after a 5-3 loss to the Yankees. "We'll see Tuesday. At this time, we feel pretty confident he's going to be fine."
Pomeranz is also confident he will be fine.
"Kind of what I expected, nothing really too serious," said Pomeranz. "I don't see missing myself too much time."
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A 17-game winner last season, Pomeranz is an important part of Boston's rotation, giving the team another strong performer beyond the front three of Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello.
"I feel fine," Pomeranz said. "I feel way better than yesterday. I think if something was really wrong I'd feel way worse."
Johnson showing life on fastball
Christopher Johnson continues to make a strong case to be the fifth starter for the beginning of the season, when left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and righty Steven Wright are both likely to be on the disabled list.
Pitching against the Yankees on Saturday, Johnson fired two shutout innings, allowing two hits. According to the JetBlue Park radar gun, Johnson threw a couple of fastballs in the mid 90s, which is a significant uptick from recent years.
"I guess the [change] I could notice is I threw one bullpen [session recently] and [Craig] Kimbrel said, 'Hey, the ball looks like it's coming out of your hand pretty well,'" said Johnson. "I've been working with our athletic trainer, Paul Buchheit. He's been working with me since I got drafted really, and our main goal was to get to where I was when I first signed, which was more lower 90s. He just said, 'We need to get you back to where your shoulder is sitting good and everything feels good,' and it has been."
J.D. itching to play
Cora sensed on Saturday morning that new star slugger J.D. Martinez is getting the itch to get into a game.
For starters, Martinez will get at-bats in a Minor League camp game on Sunday. Sale is also pitching in that game, but Cora isn't sure if Martinez will face him.
"To be determined. It's up to him," Cora said. "It's up to Chris, too. Yeah, [Martinez will] get at-bats. We have a few Minor Leaguers throwing. It's kind of like back in the day, a B game kind of, but with our own guys."
Eduardo Nunez will also play in the Minors game and is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday as the DH. If Martinez is ready to play the outfield by then, he could also get in the lineup.
Cora said that Martinez will man left field when plays the outfield at Fenway Park this season, but he could see some action in right field on the road.
Bogaerts working hard on defense
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup on Saturday after spending the previous two days working on his defense with coach Ramon Vazquez.
What was the emphasis of the work?
"Stay on his legs and square off to the target. I don't know what it feels to play shortstop at 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 like these guys," said Cora. "I like watching video. For Xander, I look at Carlos [Correa]. Not only because I worked with him, but he's very fundamentally sound. He's always using his legs. His shoulders are always to the target. That's what I want Xander to do. Little by little, you can see it in the games. His rhythm is better. He's gaining ground toward the target, and that's a key."
Thoughts are with Kimbrel family
Kimbrel remains in Boston indefinitely following the recent heart operation that his four-month-old daughter Lydia Joy underwent.
"We're still praying for the Kimbrels, his family," said Cora. "It's a tough situation and our thoughts and prayers are with them and from down here, this is a family. We talk about it and we're going to keep hoping for the best and praying for them, and I hope you guys do, too."
The starting outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts will make the trip to Sarasota, Fla., for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. Third baseman Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez are also expected to be in the lineup. Watch on MLB.TV or listen on Gameday Audio.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.