Red Sox starting pitcher Giolito might need season-ending elbow surgery: report | CBC Sports

Boston Red Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito could miss the entire 2024 season after initial imaging revealed a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and flexor strain in his pitching elbow, ESPN reported Tuesday.

If Giolito requires surgery as opposed to extensive rehab, he’s likely to miss up to 10 months.

The news would be a potentially significant blow to the Red Sox, who signed the former Chicago White Sox ace to address their starting pitching depth. He signed a two-year contract worth $38.5 million US.

Giolito, 29, became a free agent after spending time with three clubs during 2023.

Giolito produced a cumulative 8-15 record with a 4.88 earned-run average in 33 total starts last season with the White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Guardians. He allowed 41 home runs, the second-highest total in the majors, but struck out 204 batters over 184 1/3 innings.

Giolito was a 2019 all-star and received American League Cy Young Award votes in three straight seasons (2019-21). Across eight MLB seasons with the Washington Nationals (2016), White Sox (2017-23), Angels and Guardians, Giolito is 61-62 with a 4.43 ERA and 1,077 strikeouts over 1,013 2/3 innings of 180 appearances (178 starts).

Verlander needs time to get game-ready

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will open the season on the injured list after dealing with right shoulder inflammation during the off-season, which could jeopardize his conditional $35 million US option for 2025.

Astros manager Joe Espada said Tuesday the 41-year-old Verlander hasn’t suffered any setbacks but needs more time to become game ready.

“He’s doing very well, but we’re just running out of days here, and we won’t be able to build him up enough to start the season,” Espada told reporters. “It’s just a timing issue. We want to do what’s best for J.V. and our club, and this is what’s best for us right now.”

Verlander hasn’t experienced any soreness in his shoulder after bullpen sessions, the manager said. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is expected to throw in the bullpen again on Friday but has yet to face hitters.

“We want to make sure to do it smart and not fast,” Espada said. “We need him for the long haul. It’s a long season, and we need a healthy J.V. throughout the season.”

Verlander is expected to return early in the season. He called the injury “a little hiccup” in February but said he will be “really cautious on how I’m building up.”

Verlander signed a two-year deal worth $86.67 million with the New York Mets ahead of the 2023 season, then was traded back to Houston on Aug. 2. He helped the Astros win their sixth American League West crown in seven seasons before they lost to Texas in the AL Championship Series.

Gray has strained hamstring

St. Louis Cardinals ace Sonny Gray could miss an opening day start because of a mild right hamstring strain sustained in his latest spring training outing.

Gray had been slated to start at the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 28.

The three-time all-star right-hander left his start Monday against Washington after 20 pitches. The Cardinals initially said Gray had tightness in his hamstring, and an MRI revealed the strain.

“We’ve had some encouraging news that it’s a mild strain. Not going to put any return-to-play [date] on it,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “It’s been less than 24 hours. We’re going to see how he responds over the next few days.”

Gray has a history of hamstring injuries, twice missing time during the 2022 season with Minnesota.

Following their poorest season since 1995, the Cardinals gave Gray a three-year, $75-million contract in November to anchor a revamped rotation that includes fellow newcomer Kyle Gibson and returning starter Lance Lynn.

Gray is coming off one of the best seasons of his 11-year major league career, going 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA for Minnesota while finishing second to the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole in AL Cy Young voting.


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