The Boston Red Sox envisioned Joely Rodríguez being a part of their revamped bullpen this season.
But the veteran left-handed reliever won’t be, at least for the start of the upcoming season.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters Monday that Rodríguez suffered a grade two strain of his right oblique and that there is no timetable yet determined for his return, according to MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
“He’ll be back when he is healthy,” Cora said, per Browne.
Rodríguez, who signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox this offseason that reportedly includes a club option for 2024, sustained the injury in Saturday’s Grapefruit League game against the Orioles.
With a stint on the injured list to begin the season practically a certainty now for Rodríguez, Cora will look for a replacement on the Opening Day roster. Rodríguez was expected to be one of two lefties in the Boston bullpen along with Richard Bleier.
According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Cora told reporters Oddanier Mosqueda and Ryan Sherriff are two possible solutions to replace the injured Rodríguez.
Mosqueda spent the last couple of seasons pitching in the Red Sox farm system, getting as far as Double-A Portland last year, but he has yet to appear in a big league game in his career. The 23-year-old has performed well in spring training, though, posting a 1.69 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP to go along with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Sherriff, 32, has limited pitching experience in the majors, tossing a combined 44 1/3 innings during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays. Sherriff hasn’t had many, if any, hiccups on the mound this spring, having not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings while recording seven strikeouts and a 0.71 WHIP.
With Rodríguez’s injury, it will now force Cora and the Red Sox into a decision on how they will look to fill that void with the regular season starting in less than two weeks.