How Marco Hernandez’s Injury Impacts Red Sox’s Spring Training Plans

Marco Hernandez probably would have been a roster casualty before Opening Day, anyway, but the Boston Red Sox infielder experienced a setback that adds additional uncertainty to his 2018 season.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed Friday that Hernandez left spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., and traveled back to Boston to have “hardware” removed from his surgically repaired left (non-throwing) shoulder. Hernandez won’t be available this spring, leaving the Red Sox with one less depth option.

“Can’t give you a time when he’s coming back,” Cora told reporters, according to the Boston Herald. “It’s actually depending on how he feels about it. There’s guys that come out right away and they can go, and there’s people who will still feel it and it’s a longer process.

“Hopefully he can come back sooner rather than later. He was feeling it and at the end, they checked everything, and it was the hardware that they have there (that was causing the discomfort).”

Hernandez suffered the injury during a game last May and subsequently underwent surgery that cut short his 2017 season. He was limited to just 60 plate appearances in 21 games with Boston, hitting .276 (16-for-58) with two RBIs and a .628 OPS while seeing time at third base, second base and shortstop.

Hernandez probably wasn’t going to crack Boston’s roster out of camp, even with second baseman Dustin Pedroia expected to miss the start of the season while recovering from knee surgery. The Red Sox recently signed Eduardo Nunez and still have Brock Holt, and Deven Marrero was far more likely to occupy a bench spot following the trade of outfielder Bryce Brentz because he, unlike Hernandez, is out of minor league options. (Marrero and Hernandez basically serve the same purpose in Boston’s roster construction — an infielder capable of playing around the diamond — with the former being known for his defensive prowess while the latter has more offensive upside.)

But there was a time, particularly before Nunez re-signed with the Red Sox, when Hernandez had a shot, however slim, at finding his way onto the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster. If nothing else, he at least could have made an impression during spring training after what amounted to a lost 2017.

That’s nothing to sneeze at considering the uncertainty surrounding Pedroia’s injury and the possibility of Marrero or, to a lesser extent, third baseman Rafael Devers struggling. Plus, one already could make a case for Tzu-Wei Lin and/or Blake Swihart (out of minor league options) being ahead of Hernandez on the organizational depth chart.

In other words, this marked a valuable month or so for Hernandez. And now he’s forced to watch from afar because his shoulder remains an issue.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

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