Devers, Whitlock exit early, continuing tough string of injuries

April 17th, 2024

BOSTON -- Every team has injuries. But lately, the Red Sox have had a barrage of them to some of their most important players.

A recent trend reared its ugly head again in Tuesday night’s 10-7 loss to the Guardians in 11 innings.

Star third baseman injured his left knee making a 5-4 forceout on a grounder by Andrés Giménez in the top of the seventh inning.

The extent of the injury is unknown at this point, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Devers is likely to get imaging Wednesday.

Devers, Boston’s most potent hitter, wasn’t moving well in the clubhouse after the game.

“I felt it on the ground ball when I threw to second base for the [attempted] double play,” said Devers. “Felt it there and after that, I couldn’t step on my [left] leg. I don't know what to think about it right now. This is totally new. I’ve never had any issues with my legs. So that happened today. I don't know what's going on.”

Making it all the more frustrating for Devers is that he had just returned on Monday from a left shoulder injury that forced him to miss four consecutive games, not to mention two games in the first series of the season with the same ailment.

And Devers looked like he was getting his hitting groove back when he got the big hit in Boston’s stirring, five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday, hammering a two-run double to center that gave his team a 6-5 lead that held until Kenley Jansen’s blown save in the ninth.

“I’ve never been the kind of player that’s been injured,” said Devers. “Obviously, it’s frustrating to deal with another pain. So I just leave everything in God's hands to see what's going to happen, but it’s frustrating for sure.”

The injury to Devers was likely the most significant for the Red Sox in Tuesday’s game, but not the only one.

Righty starter exited Tuesday night’s start against the Guardians after four innings and 56 pitches due to left oblique tightness.

Whitlock has been an early-season bright spot for Boston, posting a 1.96 ERA in his first four starts.

“I just had some tightness in my oblique, and they just felt like a precautionary move was to pull me out,” said Whitlock. “I felt a little something in the third inning, but that was it.”

Cora said the Red Sox will monitor Whitlock’s condition Wednesday before making any decisions.

Boston’s rotation, the bright spot of the team so far, is already down one starter in righty Nick Pivetta, who is on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow flexor strain. While Pivetta has been feeling better in recent days and has resumed throwing off flat ground, there is no word on when he will be activated.

The Red Sox are without two key players for the rest of the season in righty starter Lucas Giolito (right UCL surgery) and shortstop Trevor Story (left shoulder surgery).

Outfielder Tyler O’Neill, arguably the team’s early-season MVP, is out until at least Thursday following a collision with Devers during Monday’s game that left him with eight stitches on his forehead.

Vaughn Grissom, acquired from the Braves for Chris Sale to be the team’s starting second baseman, hasn’t played a game yet for his new team as he is currently on a Minor League rehab assignment after enduring a left hamstring strain and a left groin injury in Spring Training.

“It’s tough, man. It sucks,” said Jansen. “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s annoying. And that’s how it’s going for us lately. A healthy Boston Red Sox is a pretty good team.

“But right now, there’s nothing we can do about it. Hopefully, we can get healthy soon. I like what we have. It’s a young team with talent. They love to play baseball and try to win ballgames. You can see how we came back today, showed fight. Yeah, if everyone is healthy, [it would be] great for us.”

But the Red Sox, who are 9-9 after a 7-3 start, are a long way from being healthy.

“It sucks, but we’ve got to go [on],” said Cora. “We put together good at-bats halfway through the game, cleaned up a few things. At the end of the day, we need to play better.”