An already thin bullpen just got thinner. Boston Red Sox reliever Steven Wright has been suspended 80 games for violating the league’s performance enhancing policy. Wright reported failed a drug test in the offseason and lost his appeal. MassLive’s Chris Cotillo first had the news.
Boston Red Sox Pitcher Steven Wright Suspended 80 Games
Wright has accepted his suspension, but still claims he didn’t knowingly use illegal or banned substances. The knuckleball specialist says that he “couldn’t determine how this particular substance got into [his] body” but that the responsibility for the action “ultimately falls on [him].”
Wright will miss the start of the season but is eligible to return at the end of June. However, due to MLB rules Wright is ineligible for postseason play. Despite his lack of availability, manager Alex Cora says that Wright remains “a part of the organization”.
Wright’s absence just adds to an already questionable bullpen. The Red Sox already lost Joe Kelly to the Los Angeles Dodgers and appear out on the Craig Kimbrel sweepstakes.
This isn’t the first time the Red Sox have had to adapt to Wright’s absence. Last year Wright suffered a knee injury in the hours leading up to the ALDS. In his absence, the Red Sox got creative and used their starting pitchers at setup men for Craig Kimbrel. That obviously won’t work this time around, but Cora mentioned that Colten Brewer and Tyler Thornburg both could see their roles increase.
Wright appeared in 20 games for the 2018 Boston Red Sox, making four starts and 16 relief appearances. During his time on the mound, the knuckleballer compiled a 2.68 ERA and a 4.37 FIP while striking out 7.04 batters per nine innings. Wright battled knee injuries throughout the 2018 season and planned on wearing a knee brace to prevent re-injury in 2019.
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com
(Sept. 11, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)