Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (July 31, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox are entering the stretch run of the 2018 season. With just two months left on the schedule, every game counts if the Red Sox want to avoid the one-game wild card in the playoffs. Xander Bogaerts recently suffered a wrist injury, and some might want the young shortstop to tough it out and play in as many games as possible. However, this is not the right path to take. When dealing with Xander Bogaerts wrist injury, the Boston Red Sox need to exercise as much caution as possible. Bogaerts has been down this road before, and the success of this season rests on keeping the star shortstop healthy.
Boston Red Sox Must Exercise Caution with Xander Bogaerts Wrist Injury
Learning from History
Unfortunately, this type of injury isn’t new to Bogaerts and the Red Sox. Bogaerts started off his 2017 season on a torrid pace, continuing to establish himself as one of the best shortstops in baseball. Through the first 79 games of the season, Bogaerts posted a .308/.363/.455 slash line with a 114 wRC+.
However, his season changed for the worst after getting hit on the wrist on July 6th. While x-rays were negative, Bogaerts wasn’t the same for the rest of the year. After the injury, Bogaerts posted an ugly .232/.321/.340 slash line, good for a 74 wRC+.
Despite the injury and poor production, Bogaerts played in 67 games the rest of the season. While an injured Bogaerts was a better option than anything else the 2017 Red Sox had, this short-term thinking led to a long-term problem. Bogaerts was still a shell of himself by the time the playoffs rolled around. Had he taken some time off in July to fully recover, he likely would have been healthy for the postseason run. Was a healthy Bogaerts the difference between victory and defeat in the 2017 ALDS? It’s impossible to say for sure, but having him healthy sure wouldn’t have hurt.
A Similar Situation with a Different Philosophy
Bogaerts himself said that’s he’s worried by how similar this most recent injury is to 2017’s wrist injury. Once again, x-rays came back negative, meaning that there is no structural damage to Bogaerts’ wrist. That being said, just because there’s no structural damage does not mean he’s ready to be a regular player. Last year, Bogaerts’ x-rays came back negative, yet the injury clearly bothered him all season long.
Fortunately, Alex Cora has shown he views the baseball season as a marathon, not a sprint. Throughout the season, Cora has focused on conserving his players so that they’re healthy when it matters most. Just this past week, Cora put Chris Sale on the disabled list as a precautionary measure, even though it meant missing a start against the New York Yankees.
If he’s willing to do that, he’s certainly willing to do what’s best for Bogaerts and this team. It’s more important to have Bogaerts 100% in October than it is to have him at 50% in August. Whether it means giving Bogaerts a few days off or a quick stint on the disabled list, expect Alex Cora to make the right move. Nobody wants a repeat of 2017, and the best way to prevent this is by giving Xander Bogaerts some time to rest.