BOSTON -- Entering the playoffs, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was enthused with the role knuckleballer Steven Wright could play, figuring he could be an "X" factor who could provide length and keep the Yankees off-balanced.
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But that plan was foiled before Friday's 5-4 victory in Game 1 even started. Wright underwent an MRI on his surgically repaired left knee on Friday night and is likely to be removed from the Division Series roster, a source told MLB.com.
If Wright is taken off the roster, he won't be eligible for the American League Championship Series either. He would be eligible for the World Series if the Red Sox make it that far.
Righty Richard Hembree and lefty specialist Bobby Poyner are two candidates to replace Wright. If Cora feels length is more important, lefty Christopher Johnson, a valuable swingman all season, could get the spot.
The subtraction of Wright created chaos for Cora, who had to navigate his bullpen through several stressful situations in the late innings of the Game 1 win.
Without Wright, Rick Porcello -- who was supposed to start Game 3 -- came on and recorded two crucial outs in the eighth inning. Given that Porcello also threw a bullpen session prior to the game, his status for Game 3 is certainly in question.
The Red Sox could potentially move Nathan Eovaldi up to Game 3, and Porcello could start Game 4 if necessary.
"I don't know," Porcello said. "We won tonight. We're going to enjoy this one. We have to play them again tomorrow. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Without question, the potential loss of Wright hurts. The righty had been brilliant since coming off the disabled list at the start of September, posting a 0.66 ERA over 10 relief outings.
Wright underwent a cartilage restoration procedure on his left knee in May of 2017. It is the same surgery that limited Dustin Pedroia to just three games this season.