Believe it or not Spring Training is just over a month away, and the Boston Red Sox already are planning for the stretch run.
While their path to the World Series was peppered with memorable pitching performances, those high-stress postseason innings have the Red Sox staff understandably cautious entering 2019 as they try to keep their most important arms healthy as the team puts forth its title defense.
The Red Sox have been formulating ‘a common-sense schedule for each of the pitchers during the offseason, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote in his Sunday notes.
Cafardo reported Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie, manager Alex Cora and trainer Brad Pearson are heading to Fort Myers, Fla., this week to meet with “some of our big guys.”
And it’s very likely the Sox will take it slow with pitchers like Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello in the early months.
“I’d say I’m about 80 percent sure about how we’re going to implement the schedule for our pitchers,” LeVangie told Cafardo. “It’s fair to say we’ll do what we did with the pitchers last spring training again this spring training, but there’ll be different twists depending on who it is.
“We’re going to take into consideration health, the number of stressful innings that were pitched in the postseason, and things of that nature,” LeVangie added. “We won’t be a prisoner to the spring training schedule. We need to get everyone ready, but we won’t necessarily have to have guys ready by a certain date.”
Price and Eovaldi each threw more than 20 innings in the postseason, with Eovaldi famously throwing nine innings of relief in Game 3 of the World Series in the “rover” role. Eovaldi, who re-signed with the Sox this winter, was in his first season back after his second Tommy John surgery. Sale spent two separate stints on the disabled list in August with left shoulder inflammation, but was effective in the playoffs despite never gaining back his full velocity from earlier in the season.
A slow rollout with the pitching staff this spring could prove to be a smart decision if the Sox plan on having enough left in the tank for another postseason run.