10/03/09 12:23 AM EST
Gonzalez, Baldelli suffer injuries
Shortstop plunked on wrist; outfielder strains left hip flexor
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez had to leave the game in the bottom of the eighth inning after being belted on the right wrist by a Kerry Wood fastball. Meanwhile, reserve outfielder Rocco Baldelli suffered a strained left hip flexor running out a ground ball in the fourth inning, forcing his exit.
A fluoroscan was taken on Gonzalez's wrist after the game, but the results were inconclusive. Gonzalez will have X-rays on Saturday.
"I have to take an [X-ray] tomorrow to see what's up," Gonzalez said. "I feel good, though. I can move my hand and I can squeeze. Hopefully it's nothing big."
The Red Sox can ill afford to lose Gonzalez for any length of time. Not only has he played terrific defense and given Boston more offense than it expected since being reacquired by the team in August, but it is the position the team is currently thinnest at.
The two backups also have health concerns. Jed Lowrie is still trying to get his surgically repaired left wrist healthy. And Nick Green hasn't played since Sept. 16 because of a disc issue.
The pitch hit Gonzalez on the back of the wrist.
"I just think they feel a little more comfortable if they get some X-rays tomorrow morning," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "[Trainer Paul Lessard] said it could be as little as a blood vessel, but we weren't going to play him tomorrow night anyway, so we'll get him checked a little bit."
Baldelli reached on a throwing error by Jhonny Peralta and was laboring as he got down the first-base line.
Though he is a backup, Baldelli is an important piece to the Red Sox because of his ability to hit left-handed pitching. For the season, Baldelli is batting .253 with seven homers and 23 RBIs.
Complicating matters is the muscle fatigue disorder Baldelli has that can make regular nagging injuries harder to diagnose.
"We got him out of there and it was obviously precautionary, because we didn't want to do something [to make it worse]," Francona said. "It's so hard for Rocco when he feels something, because he doesn't know if it's a pull or not. We've been through all that. But he exhibited good range of motion and no weakness, so I think that's good. We'll certainly have to monitor this one just because of his health history, and it is a concern. But we'll watch him and try to find out more in the next couple of days."
Baldelli was making the start in place of starting right fielder J.D. Drew, who has been dealing with soreness in his left shoulder. Drew is expected to return at some point this weekend and recently had a cortisone shot, according to espnboston.com. The injury is not regarded as serious.
It remains to be seen how long Baldelli's injury will linger. The Red Sox have until the day of Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Angels to submit their roster. If Baldelli's injury prohibits him from playing against the Halos, Josh Reddick or Brian Anderson could earn a roster spot.
The left-handed-hitting Reddick replaced Baldelli in Friday night's game against the Indians.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.