Brasier discusses difficult road back

June 26th, 2021

BOSTON -- Three weeks and one day after being belted across the right side of his face by a line drive, Red Sox righty reliever was pleased to get clearance to play catch again on Saturday.

“It’s been a long three weeks,” said Brasier. “Been ready to kind of test it and get back out and hopefully get on track to being back soon.”

While the act of playing catch seems like a relatively mundane activity, it means everything to Brasier when you consider what he has gone through this year.

In the winter, while doing an offseason workout, Brasier broke his right pinkie finger.

Not long after that, his father died -- which Brasier revealed for the first time on Saturday.

The death of his father was the reason Brasier reported late to Spring Training and left him playing catchup on rehabbing the pinkie injury that normally would have healed much quicker.

And when Brasier was finally ready to push through and get on a schedule that probably could have enabled him to pitch for the Red Sox by mid-April, he strained his left calf in the latter stages of Spring Training.

It was an injury that took Brasier two months to fully recover from. And on that fateful day of June 4 -- when he was taking what was supposed to be his final step before going on a Minor League rehab assignment -- he suffered that concussion while taking the line drive off his face during a simulated game.

“The first week or so, I didn’t do much,” said Brasier. “Just tried to stay in the dark and make my head not hurt, and there was some ringing and stuff. And with the cut on the ear and everything, I haven’t really done a whole lot over the last few weeks, but I'm excited to finally get back out and start going some stuff.”

Given everything Brasier has gone through this year, it’s hard for him to gauge exactly when he’ll return to action for the Red Sox. But the thought of that day is what keeps him going.

Losing his father and not being able to pitch for three months has been a tough combination for Brasier. Once he gets back on the mound, he will at least have some normalcy back in his life.

“It’s been tough, but my family has been awesome,” said Brasier. “Especially with getting hurt multiple times and trying to get through this part of the season. Now I just want to get back to where I want to be and hopefully pitch in October.

Wong catches on a day early
Originally, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that , who was called up earlier this week and made his Major League debut as a pinch-runner on Tuesday, would make his first start on Sunday.

But Wong was inserted into the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Yankees and was entrusted to catch Nathan Eovaldi.

Why the switch in plans?

“Actually, he worked out with Nate in the offseason,” said Cora. “Nate threw bullpens with him in the Houston area. Want to keep Eduardo [Rodriguez] with Christian [Vázquez] for tomorrow.”

Wong, a catcher who also has the versatility to play the infield and outfield, is Boston’s No. 16 prospect.

E-Rod set for duel with Cole
Though Rodriguez looked a little better in his last start, he still hasn’t had a really strong performance since May 7, when he allowed one run over five innings.

Sunday is a big one for E-Rod, who will be opposed by Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Coming into the season, Rodriguez was supposed to be Boston’s ace. In 14 starts, he is 5-4 with a 6.07 ERA.

“Honestly, that last one in Tampa, the home run on the breaking ball, yeah, that wasn’t a good breaking ball, but overall we thought that was his best outing stuff-wise and the way he attacked,” said Cora. “We’re comfortable where he’s at. Obviously, tomorrow they’re going to have a lot of righties there. We need the changeup to work. And we need to throw strikes. He should be OK. We’re not worried about it.”