Red Sox rotation depth: How thin is that ice?

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Manager Alex Cora and Chris Sale
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Manager Alex Cora and Chris Sale /
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With Opening Day bearing down on us many questions remain for the Boston Red Sox. Chief among them may be whether the rotation is ready to carry the team to a third straight division title.

On paper and from a distance the Red Sox rotation depth appears to be some of the best in baseball. Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson, Steven Wright and Hector Velazquez constitute a fantastic mix of high ceiling and a high floor that runs eight deep. That said, the current statuses of Rodriguez, Wright, and Pomeranz are all in question to some degree, and it’s conceivable that the team will start the season with all three on the disabled list.

The Opening Day Questions:

Pomeranz is recovering from forearm tightness, but appears to be progressing well:

"“That’s the first day I’ve really gotten after it. I threw a bullpen the other day where I was just kind of moving. Today I actually started firing them in there. I felt great. I felt normal.”"

This isn’t the first time Pomeranz has left a spring training start with an arm issue. In fact, as Jason Mastrodonato pointed out on March 2, despite leaving a number of starts with arm tightness last year, he has been pretty durable:

Rodriguez underwent a significant knee surgery in October to address the recurring kneecap dislocations (patellar subluxations) that were plaguing him. The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) runs laterally from the front of the knee to the back and helps keep the kneecap stable through its range of motion. Athletes with patellar subluxations often damage this ligament leading to issues much like what Rodriguez has suffered. The surgery he underwent was designed to stabilize the kneecap.

The prognosis for the Red Sox hurler.

According to Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Christopher Geary, this surgery has a high rate of success:

"“In terms of results, the odds are in Rodriguez’ favor for a full return with a stable knee. A recent meta-analysis (a group of studies whose results are pooled together) looking at results of MPFL reconstruction surgeries from the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed very favorable results, with 84.1 percent of patients returning to their sports and with recurrent instability being very low, at 1.2 percent.”"

For his part, Rodriguez is making excellent progress and is reported to be well ahead of schedule for his initial ETA. He may not be ready for opening day, but we should see him taking the mound sometime in April.

Wright is also recovering from knee surgery, but Alex Cora hasn’t entirely closed the door on him being ready for April 2nd, the first time the team would need a fifth starter. The 33-year-old knuckleballer had an outstanding 2016 campaign before being shut down due to a shoulder injury suffered while pinch running, and appeared in only five games in 2017.