BOSTON -- Knuckleballer Steven Wright, who had been brilliant in three straight starts before faltering his last time out, was placed back on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee.
Lefty long reliever Christopher Johnson will replace Wright as the starter for Thursday night's finale of a three-game set vs. the Angels at Fenway Park. Righty reliever Justin Haley was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Wright's spot on the roster.
As for Wright, he had cartilage restoration surgery on his knee last May, so it isn't entirely surprising he is having a setback.
"It's just such a different surgery, you know? It's like it's something we've been dealing with pretty much since I started coming back," said Wright. "It's one of those surgeries, you're going to have peaks and valleys. The last couple of weeks, it just hasn't responded the way that I thought it was going to. Then throughout, after Seattle, it just never had a chance to really recover like I thought, but it wasn't anything where I thought I couldn't go out there and perform. But then afterwards, I came and I talked to the trainers and just kind of collectively agreed to just let it calm down a little bit."
Dustin Pedroia, who had the same surgery, landed back on the disabled list after playing just three Major League games and is still not doing baseball activities nearly a month later. The Red Sox are hoping Wright makes a quicker recovery.
"One thing for sure, we have an idea where we're at with Dustin as far as treatment. Hopefully when Steven goes to New York and sees the doctor and comes back, we can attack it right away and it doesn't take long," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "But it sucks, honestly, especially the way he was throwing the ball. But coming into the season, we knew we were going to have some situations like this and having some guys in the Minor Leagues and obviously Hector and BJ, we feel comfortable they're going to do the job."
Pomeranz, Thornburg taking steps
Lefty Thomas Pomeranz, who hasn't pitched since May 31 due to left biceps tendinitis and neck woes, will throw a two-inning simulated game at Fenway Park on Wednesday. If that goes well, he will progress to a Minor League rehab assignment next week. Pomeranz would need multiple starts in the Minors to get stretched out.
Meanwhile, Tyler Thornburg will progress to a two-inning stint in his next rehab appearance on Wednesday for Double-A Portland. The righty had surgery last year to repair thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, and he hasn't pitched in the regular season for the Red Sox since he was traded from the Brewers in December 2016.
Thornburg will accompany the Red Sox on their trip to New York this weekend with the hope he can pitch another inning for Pawtucket at Scranton on Saturday.
Thornburg's rehab assignment expires on July 4.
"See how he bounces back, how he goes and how we go from there. It's something that we've been talking about, the way we're going to use him and what he can do in a big league bullpen, and today we sat down, everybody, and we decided -- and he agreed with -- going two tomorrow is very important," Cora said. "So we'll see how he rebounds from that one and hopefully he can pitch on Saturday and he's OK and then we'll make a decision."