When Kutter Crawford was scratched for his scheduled start at Triple-A Worcester on Sunday, it appeared the Boston Red Sox were positioning to use him Wednesday as they have an empty spot in their starting rotation.
But the Red Sox could be forced to use the right-handed pitcher sooner than expected.
Following Boston’s extra-inning win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Crawford could be thrust into a spot start Monday in place of Michael Wacha when Boston opens a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
Cora revealed Wacha is dealing with a “heavy arm” issue, which may cause him to miss his scheduled start.
“There’s a good chance (Crawford’s) the guy tomorrow,” Cora said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Wacha during the game today, he didn’t feel great. So, there’s a chance we might scratch him tomorrow and Kutter might be with us, but we’ll see. We’re still kind of like let’s see what we can do.”
Cora didn’t give a definitive timeline for when Wacha, whose last outing came Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, will pitch again.
“Something that he talked about it today, and we’re like, ‘Ok, if we can push him back or scratch him tomorrow and then he can pitch later then we’ll do that,'” Cora said. “It’s nothing (definite). That’s something that it came to our attention today.”
Wacha has been one of Boston’s most consistent starting pitchers this season, posting a 6-1 record with a 2.59 ERA. Wacha is just the latest starting pitcher hampered by an ailment with the Red Sox’s rotation decimated by injuries. While Garrett Whitlock and Nathan Eovaldi are working their way back from injuries, they are still on the injured list, and Rich Hill just wound up on the shelf due to a left knee sprain.
If Wacha only needs a couple days of rest, he could start Wednesday or the Red Sox may have to go with another arm from Triple-A.
Crawford last appeared for the Red Sox on June 18 when he allowed four runs and six hits in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Crawford was optioned to Worcester after that contest, but it looks like another spot start in the big leagues is on its way.