Alex Cora is going to have to get creative to start the 2018 regular season.
With uncertainty surrounding the health of three of the Boston Red Sox’s starting pitchers, the beginning of the campaign likely will result in the new Sox skipper doing some shuffling to the rotation.
And now, we have at least a little bit of an idea of how he plans to do said shuffling if needed.
Drew Pomeranz (forearm), Steven Wright (knee) and Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) all have been dealing with injuries, but it is not totally clear just how long each will be sidelined once the season begins. With that in mind, Cora announced Tuesday that ace Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter against the Tampa Bay Rays, which comes as little surprise. Following him will be David Price and then Rick Porcello.
The Red Sox play a four-game set with the Rays to start the season before heading to Miami to play the Marlins. So when Cora indicated he told Brian Johnson to practice running the bases, it looks as though he possibly could be the fifth starter, or if no one else is ready beforehand, the starter for the series finale against the Rays.
“It all depends where we go and where everybody else is. We’ll decide, obviously at the end of the week, and we’ll take a look at matchups,” Cora said, via WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “If that’s the case, we’ll see who he matches up better with — if it?s the Rays or the Marlins. Right now, with everything that?s going on, obviously we’re leaving the door open for the other guys but we have to extend him and keep him on plan. He’s still going to the run the bases just in case. And he can hit, supposedly, in college.”
Of course, this all will be contingent on the health of the trio of injured pitchers. And with Opening Day still nine days away, there’s a possibility that this plan will be shuffled again.