The Boston Red Sox’s bullpen took a huge, albeit somewhat expected, hit Thursday afternoon.
The Red Sox announced reliever Tyler Thornburg will undergo shoulder surgery Friday to address thoracic outlet syndrome in his right throwing shoulder. The club anticipates Thornburg will be ready for the 2018 season, which is another way of saying he won’t pitch in 2017.
That means Red Sox fans must wait even longer to see Thornburg make his debut with the club. Boston acquired the right-handed reliever from the Milwaukee Brewers in December. It was a pricey acquisition for Boston, too, with the Red Sox sending two prospects (Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington) and Travis Shaw to the Brewers in exchange for the pitcher. The Red Sox also included a player to be named later in the trade, which ended up being infield prospect Yeison Coca.
Making matters worse for the Red Sox is Shaw is having plenty of success with his new team. The 27-year-old is hitting .299 (would be a career high) with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs. Meanwhile, third base remains one of Boston’s biggest weaknesses, as the Red Sox rank dead last in baseball in wins above replacement at the position.
Thornburg’s injury marks the second straight season a recently acquired Red Sox reliever essentially missed his entire first season. Boston acquired Carson Smith from the Seattle Mariners two offseasons ago, and the right-hander pitched in just three games before missing the rest of the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery.
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