12:00 AM UTC
BOSTON — Tuesday’s Middle-Infield Picture for the Red Sox was made even worse when Trevor Story, infielder of the Red Sox, underwent an internal bracing procedure to repair the right elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister at Texas Metroplex Institute, Arlington, Texas.
On Tuesday’s Zoom call, Chaim Bloom, the chief baseball officer said Story was experiencing pain at his elbow as he increased his throwing speed just before Christmas.
Bloom stated that “We are not yet ready to set a date.” Bloom said, “I would certainly not rule out the possibility of a return in 2023. It’s not something we can bank on at the moment. You’ll have to wait. It’s our goal to ensure he is 100%. This is the inner brace and not Tommy John procedure. [surgery]It does open the possibility of a season-ending return.
Story missed 94 games in the inaugural season of his six year contract with Boston after suffering a right-hand contusion in July and a left foot contusion in September. Story, 30, was not injured by his elbow in 2022. However, he did spend a time on the IL with right elbow inflammation during his stint with the Rockies in 21.
Story’s injury history and a drop in velocity have raised concerns. Story moved from shortstop in the ’21 season to second base. His average velocity for throws dropped from 79.1 to 76.1 mph.
Bloom stated, “Clearly recognizing his throws have not been the same as in the past,” and that everything during the physical to sign him was good. He also felt great throughout the season. This, the incident he had, was something completely new.
Despite velocity issues, Story is the most likely candidate for shortstop. Story took over after Boston lost Xander Bogards to the Padres through free agency. Bloom stated that Story was throwing more to prepare for his role as the everyday shortstop.
Bloom stated that it wasn’t clear how the offseason went, but that he was ready to be a shortstop. He was open about it, and he wanted to.
His hope was for Xander to leave, which was what he did. He understood that we would always do what was right for the team, and there were ways to get him on the roster as our second baseman. His mindset was to be a shortstop.
After finishing last in the American League East 2022, the Red Sox now have two holes in their infield.
With Spring Training less than a month away what does all this mean for our roster?
Bloom stated that “it means there is more to be done.” We wanted to improve the midfield, and that is what we did even before Trevor became healthy. Kike and Trevor were a blessing. [Hernández] As good options that provided us with a variety of coverages. Kike still has the ability to do this, but we want to expand on it.
Minus Story: The current 40-man roster has 112 career shortstop starts between them
Hernandez and Arroyo are still options for filling in the spot, but Boston would need to add an infield player to shift Hernandez. Arroyo’s past history of injury raises concerns.
If Boston opts to outsource its shortstops, there are six available free agents, including Jose Iglesias, who has played four seasons in Boston. He was most recently in 2021.
Bloom stated, “I would assume we’re going adding to that.” That was what I had expected from the beginning. I’m not sure if it’s free agency, trade or both.
It was something that we had been discussing before. Now we are a man down, so we will have to strengthen ourselves. We had always expected that outside players would join our position player group in any way shape or form. That’s still true.