It’s not great news for the Red Sox ace, but it could have been much, much worse.
There was plenty of serious speculation that the Red Sox ace would be undergoing Tommy John surgery in the coming weeks. Of course, anytime a pitcher meets with Dr. James Andrews, the two are reasonably assimilated; however thankfully for the Red Sox this was not the case.
It was the best case scenario for the Boston Red Sox that Chris Sale avoided the dreaded Tommy John surgery. While his rough 2019 season may come to a close, it’s fantastic news that there should be no lingering effects into the following year.
A PRP injection signalizes that there was at least some abnormalities within the UCL itself, but it wasn’t significant enough to necessitate surgery. It’s not even necessarily a precursor to TJ, but rather a method to help curb inflammation as Heath Hembree recently underwent the same procedure. In regards to long term benefit, the New York Yankees thought that Masahiro Tanaka would require TJ in 2014, but opted to get the PRP injection instead. Five years later, Tanaka has had a largely healthy elbow and avoided the ligament replacement surgery.
In terms of the state of the Red Sox rotation, Sale’s injury puts a major damper on a club that has hit its stride. Eduardo Rodriguez will be called upon to steady the rotation as Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi look to find any sense of consistency on the mound. A healthy David Price will provide a boost, but Alex Cora will have a tough time solidifying the final spot in the rotation between Brian Johnson, and other candidates.
If the Red Sox were to fall out of contention, Tanner Houck should get a shot to prove himself in the rotation. The former first round pick was moved to the bullpen as a viable candidate to assist this season, but an open rotation spot should allow for those plans to be fluid. Additionally, if the Sox were to fall out of contention, wasting time on the likes of Ryan Weber and Josh Smith does nothing for the organization’s long term development.
An argument may be made for Darwinzon Hernandez to join the rotation, but he seems best suited for the bullpen. If the Red Sox get eliminated from playoff contention, test him in the closer’s role and see what you’ve got.