BOSTON -- Rehabbing Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story broke free from Fort Myers, Fla., and will spend this week’s homestand at Fenway Park. It’s getting to the point where Story can look forward to being an active player for games in Boston instead of a spectator.
“I feel like sometimes it’s closer than it feels,” said Story. “Arm is feeling really good and my whole body is in a great spot, so overall I’m feeling really good about it. Obviously, I want to get back out there as quickly as possible, but I have to respect a lot of parts of this process and make sure we do it right first.”
Story, who had an internal bracing procedure to repair his right elbow in January, doesn’t have a concrete timetable for his return because the process is based on how he reacts to each new step in his program. However, he does have a goal.
“I think the progression is kind of a moving thing based on how I feel,” said Story. “I feel good about coming back to play shortstop sometime in August. I know that's what I want to do. That's my goal. So that's kind of where I have my head on.”
The one way Story could be back even sooner is if the Red Sox use him as a DH until he is ready to play short. In that case, Story suspects he could play for Boston in July.
“Yeah, [July] is a real possibility for DH,” said Story. “I think that's as early as we've looked at it. That’s obviously exciting to me. To be able to just impact the team with my bat is something I feel like I can do, so we'll make that decision soon.”
Story indicated that there are multiple factors to consider before the club decides whether he will come back first as a DH.
“That's where it gets tricky, because if I go use the rehab games for DH, then those are kind of used up and I can’t just go down and do that for shortstop,” said Story. “That's where we get creative with some things. But yeah, I think this is a live and living thing.
“Things could change at any point, whether it's injuries or whatever. But as of now, I'm getting ready to be able to do it, to be able to be available for DH, and I think things will kind of play itself out over the next couple weeks or so.”
The return of Story, given his bat, glove, legs and athleticism, would be big for a Boston team that started its homestand against Colorado with a 33-33 record, facing a four-game deficit in the American League Wild Card standings.
The key in Story’s progression is his throwing program. He’s currently stretched out to 120 feet. What is next in that progression?
“I think 130 or 135, and then 150,” Story said. “I'm not sure how deep we're going after 150, but yeah, I think we're kind of listening to my body, and just because it says something on the paper you know, we're not doing it just because it says that. We’re being smart about it. If I feel good about progress, we’re going to progress.”
Story is enjoying each incremental step in the process.
“Man, I think every time I throw, I’m gaining more confidence, just letting it go, letting it rip,” Story said. “At this point, obviously the further the distance, the more intensity happens. So that's a mini-step in itself but I think when it gets to taking ground balls and taking live, you know, I’m just diving, getting up and throwing, little stuff like that, I think will be the biggest steps.”
Perhaps by design, Story timed his week-long escape from Fort Myers while the Red Sox are playing the Rockies, the team with which he had spent his entire career before signing with Boston as a free agent in March 2022.
“Yeah, I wish I was playing,” Story said. “You know, obviously other things happen, but it’s good to see these guys. I’ve got a lot of good friends over there, but it's good to be back and hopefully we beat them three times in a row.”
Even more meaningful for Story was getting away from the isolation of Florida and seeing his current teammates.
“It's huge,” Story said. “Our team is a very tight-knit team, and I think the chemistry runs deep. So it's always good. It gives me a lift and it's exciting to see everybody. As much time as we spend around each other, we're family. And that's really how we see ourselves. So being around them is always good for me.”