As if the Red Sox could afford to be any more diminished in their outfield, centerfielder Cody Ross will be placed on the 15-day DL tomorrow, with a navicular bone fracture in his left foot after being struck in the foot with a ball he fouled off at bat during the series again Philadelphia. The Sox are already missing Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Carl Crawford (elbow), Ryan Kalish (shoulder), Darnell McDonald (oblique) and Jason Repko (shoulder) in their outfield. Ellsbury and Crawford are still indefinitely out, and there’s no word on when Kalish, McDonald and Repko will be available, but Ross will be joining the “Outfielder Injury Club”, which seems to be the cool-kids-clan for this 2012 Red Sox club.
Ross is benched in tonight’s game versus the Baltimore Orioles when the Sox could greatly benefit from having his bat in the lineup, but seems to be available should they need him for any reason. When Ross is placed on the DL tomorrow, Kevin Youkilis, who’s been rehabbing a back injury in Pawtucket, will be recalled to the Red Sox. Che-Hsuan Lin was called up from Pawtucket this afternoon, and last week, Mauro Gomez was called up when Darnell McDonald was placed on the 15-day DL.
The return of Youkilis was going to certainly shake things up in the Sox lineup anyway, since rookie Will Middlebrooks earned his place in the Sox lineup at 3B, and with Ross being placed on the DL, things could get very interesting for the Sox the roster. During interleague play against the Phillies, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez shifted to RF to keep David Ortiz’s bat swinging, and did exceptionally well in the position, but manager Bobby Valentine says he’s “not comfortable” with having Gonzo’s “lack of familiarity” with the position. Youk has previously played 22 games in the outfield with the Sox and has also played at 1B, which gives him more flexibility than most of the other players, and since he’s still coming off his injury, 1B could give him a little less stress than 3B; Punto could play at SS and Aviles could shift to LF, if necessary, as he practiced during the offseason; and although he’s never played in an outfield position, Middlebrooks is probably an option Sox skipper Bobby Valentine is considering as well, which would keep both Middlebrooks’ and Youk’s bats in the lineup. Other options? Scott Podsednik, who was promoted from the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox AA) to Pawtucket just a week and a half ago, has been hitting well and is a veteran outfielder; or Jose Iglesias (who was beat out by Aviles during spring training for Red Sox SS) or Pedro Ciriaco could be brought up from Pawtucket to play at SS while Aviles covers the OF.
So many options–and you thought we’d be in trouble! Unfortunately, taking Ross’ bat out of the lineup is a problem for the Sox, but bringing up a player from Pawtucket who’s doing well both offensively and defensively (such as Podsednik or Iglesias) could bode well with the team facing a tough upcoming schedule, especially with more interleague play in the future.
Sound off: Are you worried about Cody Ross’ being the latest addition to the injury club? Who would you like to see playing in the Red Sox outfield while he’s on the DL?
About the Author
Written by Erika Leigh
Erika Leigh is a twenty-something, rabid New England sports fan who currently lives in New York City, where she's constantly taking heat for the teams she loves. Erika has been a lifelong Red Sox and Patriots fan who more recently fell in love with the Bruins and Celtics. She was a sports editor for her high school's newspaper in Western Mass, currently writes a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, "Shoes, Shirts & Other Sh!t", and hosts a New England sports news update show on YouTube. Erika hopes to eventually work as a reporter or sportscaster in the Boston/New England market.