Red Sox

Chaim Bloom: Red Sox ‘can’t bank on’ Trevor Story’s return from elbow surgery in 2023

"We're going to have to fortify ourselves further."

Boston Red Sox's Trevor Story throws to first base on the force out single by Texas Rangers' Marcus Semien during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Boston.
Trevor Story was expected to replace Xander Bogaerts at shortstop for Boston in 2023. Michael Dwyer/AP

Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox aren’t ruling out the possibility of Trevor Story returning to the field for Boston at some point in 2023.

But any optimism is far from a guarantee, not after the 30-year-old infielder underwent elbow surgery on Monday.

Even though the procedure that Story underwent (an internal bracing procedure of the right ulnar collateral ligament) has usually led to a four- to six-month recovery timeline, Bloom didn’t set down any tangible projections for when Boston expects Story back in the lineup. 

“Not ready to put a timetable on it yet,” Bloom told reporters on Tuesday. “I certainly would not rule out a return some time during 2023. But it’s also not something at this stage we want to bank on. It will take how long it takes. We want to make sure he’s 100%. Certainly with this being the internal brace procedure and not Tommy John, it does leave the door open for a return this season.”

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Story’s injury comes at a brutal time for the Red Sox. Per Alex Speier of The Boston GlobeBloom said that Story’s elbow issues started to sprout up “just before Christmas”. That timeline has Story’s ailment presenting itself just a few weeks after Xander Bogaerts inked an 11-year, $280 million contract with the Padres. 

“No, it was not something we were contemplating at the end of the season,” Bloom said of Story’s procedure. “Obviously recognizing that his throwing has not been what it was in the past. Everything, when we did the physical when we signed him, looked good. And he felt good throughout the season. This, what he experienced in this incident, was something new.”

Heel and hand injuries were the primary reasons why Story was limited to just 94 games in the first campaign of his six-year, $140 million contract with Boston. But there were plenty of warning signs that signaled a potential surgery down the road.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Buster Olney noted that some teams initially passed on Story when he hit free agency because “they felt he inevitably would require major elbow surgery.” The Red Sox were apparently aware of the risk, and now have two major vacancies in their infield just five weeks out from the start of spring training. 

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“I would expect we’re going to add,” Bloom said when asked about next steps following Story’s surgery. “Frankly, that was my expectation even before this. Whether that’s through free agency or trade — I don’t know yet. What that looks like, who it is. Obviously, it’s something we were already actively discussing even before this.

“And now, obviously, we’re a man down. So we’re going to have to fortify ourselves further. But our expectation was always that in some way, shape or form, we would have outside additions joining our position player group and so that’s still the case.”

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