NEW YORK -- For veteran reliever Ryan Brasier, it has been one thing after another that has prevented his return to the Red Sox.
The latest roadblock?
A scary incident that took place on Friday, when the righty was belted on the upper right side of his face by a line drive while he was throwing in a simulated game in Fort Myers, Fla.
"He was taken to the hospital," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He's under observation. He's stable. I actually texted with him not too long ago. Obviously, you know, not happy, but he's going to be under observation there the next 24 hours. We're going to have more information throughout the day and tomorrow."
Cora said it's too soon to say if Brasier has a concussion or what the exact nature of the injury is. But any time a player gets hit in the head, it is cause for concern.
"What I just ask from you guys is pray for him and your thoughts for his family," said Cora. "But we will know a little bit more, you know, throughout the night and into tomorrow."
If not for his latest setback, Brasier would have flown to Boston to check in with the team's training staff and start a Minor League rehab assignment next week.
For now, all pitching plans are on hold as the Red Sox wait for more updates from the doctors. Cora was made aware of the situation shortly after it happened.
"I heard from [trainer] Brad [Pearson] at 11 this morning and I texted with [Brasier] on the way here at 1:30," said Cora. "It's been a tough four or five months for him. It wasn't a baseball text. He's one of our guys and he's been here for [four seasons] and we care about him, so we put baseball out of the equation. This is about the human being. We just want him to be healthy."
Brasier has had a string of misfortune on and off the field heading into this season.
In the winter, he fractured his right pinkie finger during a workout in Texas. Slowing his recovery from the finger injury was a serious family issue that forced Brasier to report late to Spring Training.
And just when he seemed to be making progress from the first injury, Brasier suffered a severe left calf strain in the latter stages of Spring Training.
Brasier was finally over that injury before he was hit with Friday's setback.
Workman confident in Red Sox rebound
Back with the Red Sox again after having his contract from Triple-A Worcester purchased on Thursday, righty Brandon Workman expressed optimism he will regain his groove back in familiar surroundings.
Though not much had gone right for Workman pitching-wise since the Red Sox traded him to the Phillies last August and the Cubs picked him up for this season, he pointed out what a small sample size it has really been.
"If that were to happen the first two months of a normal season last year, I'm confident I would have been able to turn it around and still have a good season," said Workman in a Friday Zoom call. "So this isn't like I have to remake myself or anything, it's just, you know, a couple adjustments and then getting back to throwing the ball the way I know I can."
Workman admits that pitching the way he did in Philadelphia after the trade was a nightmare.
"Honestly, that's the worst I've ever felt of any level of baseball in my life," Workman said. "From the first time I started pitching when I was 8 years old, that's the toughest stretch I've been on. I feel like that's behind me now. Obviously, there is still room to improve, but I feel like I'm throwing the ball closer to what I'm capable of and I'm right on track to be back where I need to be to contribute this year."
Being back in familiar surroundings could also help.
"Definitely," said Workman. "That was a large reason why I came back here after I got DFA'd in Chicago. That feeling was there as soon as I got to Worcester and played with guys I had played before, coaches that I had worked with for a decade. So there is definitely a comfortable feeling here and a familiarity."
Workman is trying to make his cutter a weapon he can use in addition to his fastball and his true separator -- the curveball.
"It's obviously important to be able to be a three-pitch pitcher instead of a two-pitch guy," Workman said. "It's just one more thing for hitters to have to think about and defend against. It's important. I feel good with it. I threw some good ones yesterday. I never really lost feeling with it. For whatever reason, I took it out of my mix a little bit, so I've been incorporating it back in there and I feel good with it."
Kiké gets one more day
With leadoff hitter Kiké Hernández in an 0-for-24 slump, Cora had him out of the lineup for the second straight day on Friday.
"I just believe that one more day for Kiké will benefit him," said Cora. "It's just physically and mentally kind of like disconnect a little bit and work with [hitting coaches] Pete [Fatse] and Timmy [Hyers] on a few things and see the game from a different angle. He'll be back tomorrow. But we'll keep looking for matchups at first base and try to exploit them."