Red Sox to activate right-hander Michael Wacha from the 15-day injured list today, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe). Wacha will get the start for tonight’s game against the Yankees.
Right shoulder inflammation sent Wacha to IL on July 5, so between that absence and a previous 15-day stay in May due to left intercostal irritation, Wacha missed a good chunk of his first season with the Red Sox. When he was able to pitch, the right-hander was arguably Boston’s best pitcher, with a 2.69 ERA in 70 1/3 innings.
This performance is tempered by a 4.56 SIERA, a .240 BABIP and a slate of unimpressive Statcast metrics, so some regression seems almost inevitable. However, in terms of pure numbers, 2022 represents a very nice rebound for Wacha after posting a 5.11 ERA in 285 1/3 innings in 2019-21. The Sox have already gotten a decent return on their one-year, $7 million investment in Wacha this offseason, and if he can continue to defy the metrics, he could be a key arm for the Red Sox on the duration.
The starting rotation has been a question mark for the Sox for most of the season, with injuries and/or inconsistencies affecting just about every pitcher on the roster. Chris Sale’s season-ending wrist surgery means Boston will never really have their top five starting pick all at once, but Wacha’s return is at least one more piece of the puzzle. Wacha joins Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pitta, Rich Hill and Kutter Crawford in the rotation, with Josh Winckowski is likely to return to work in the bullpen, and James Paxton is tentatively set to make a comeback in September after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2021.