The Sox have been bit hard by the injury bug in the first month of this season, and that bad luck continued Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Gavin Floyd left the game in the third inning with a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow. That injury was one of two to his right elbow that sent him to the disabled list last season. And according to manager Robin Ventura, that’s likely where Floyd is heading again.
“He has a strain in a muscle through his elbow,” Ventura said. “It's looking more like a DL stint, kind of like he had last year. The hits keep coming. We'll find a way to keep going. Hector [Santiago]’s probably the guy in line to do that. We'll bring up Deunte Heath again to fill in for where Hector's at right now. Hopefully [Jeff Keppinger]'s feeling better tomorrow.”
Floyd is the latest Sox player to go down, following significant injuries to Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo. Keppinger and Dewayne Wise have battled day-to-day injuries over the past few days, and of course John Danks continues to work his way back to the team after shoulder surgery last summer.
The injury occurred with two down in the third inning after the first pitch of an at-bat to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Catcher Tyler Flowers came out to the mound, and the trainer wasn’t too far behind.
“He threw the last pitch to Longoria. I could tell he didn’t throw it like normal, so I kind of hesitated for a second, kind of replayed it in my head, and decided to go out there,” Flowers said. “And of course, he didn’t want to come out, but he was definitely in pain. So I told him, ‘I hate to do it to you, but I’ve got to call him out here.’ Hopefully it’s nothing too bad, but it seemed to be pretty painful for him at the time.”
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Santiago replaced Floyd in the game, and Ventura said he’ll likely replace him in the starting rotation. Santiago threw 86 pitches in 3 2/3 innings of relief Saturday, and it’s that kind of extended work that will be expected of him in the near future.
“You try to stretch him out there to get him used to it,” Ventura said. “You don't want to go too much. That's a lot for him of where he was and now where he's at. Hopefully, that's enough to get him to there. I don't necessarily want to give him any more work in between that. He's capable of doing that.”
“That’s what it looks like right now,” Santiago said. “I don’t know what they told Gavin, but you hope he’s healthy and nothing major and he can come back soon. I think I will be filling in for the next couple of starts.”
As Ventura mentioned, the Sox are likely to call up Heath to fill the bullpen spot vacated by Santiago’s move to the rotation.
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Though the Sox aren’t too happy with the cards they’ve been dealt on the injury front, they’re used to repeating the line of plugging someone else in and moving forward.
“Losing a quality starter like that is always tough,” Flowers said. “I think we’re somewhat fortunate. I’m not sure the move we’re going to make, but a good option would be Santiago, the guy that came in today. He has a good arsenal and is another pitcher I think would be very suited to be a starter.”
“It seems like every day there’s something happening to somebody,” Santiago said. “Somebody going down. It’s tough to keep us going and losing a guy and trying to fill that spot. This is part of the game and you have to keep going from there.”