Trevor Story Underwent Internal Brace Surgery On Right Elbow
3:10 p.m.: Bloom didn’t give Story a specific timeline for next season, noting that a return is possible “but it’s not something at this stage we want to count on,” according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe . Bloom also said Story was preparing to play shortstop before aggravating his elbow, according to Speier.
2:50: Red Sox outfielder Trevor Story underwent internal brace surgery on his right elbow yesterday, according to a release from the team. “Boston Red Sox infielder Trevor Story yesterday underwent a successful internal tightening procedure of his right ulnar collateral ligament (elbow),” the statement read. “Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery at the Texas Metroplex Institute in Arlington, Texas. MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. reported the operation shortly before the official announcement and adds that baseball boss Chaim Bloom will speak at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central.
The club has not given a timeline for Story’s expected recovery, with that information likely to come when Bloom speaks. Until that information comes out, we can only speculate on the timeline, but it’s worth noting that the UCL is the same ligament that is replaced in Tommy John surgery. The internal brace procedure is generally considered to be less invasive and allows players to return more quickly, but the recovery period usually takes months. For a recent example, outfielder Eli White underwent the procedure while a member of the Rangers last year, with the club announcing at the time that White was expected to miss six months. Each player is unique and will have their own responses to different injuries, but it seems fair to assume Story is slated for a significant absence of some sort.
For Story, there have been concerns swirling around his throwing arm for some time. He committed 11 throwing errors while with the Rockies in 2021, with some scouts expressing concern about those throws after that season. Statcast’s new arm strength leaderboard listed Story as averaging 79.1 mph on his throws through February, a mark that ranked him 52nd out of 58 stops to make at least 100 throws that year. That was a marked drop from 2020, when Story hit 82.3 mph and ranked 22nd out of 34 shortstops who threw 100 throws.
Despite those concerns, the Sox signed Story to a six-year, $140 billion deal that would run through 2022. At the time of the signing, Story was expected to play second base in favor of Xander Bogaerts, but was also seen as a possible . safety net for a Bogaerts departure. Since Bogaerts had the ability to opt out of his deal after 2022, the Sox would then have the option of sliding Story to the other side of the bag to replace him.
The position change gave Story and the Sox a year to evaluate things, with Story taking shorter throws from second. He averaged 76.1 mph on his throws last year, which was another drop from the year before and ranked him 61st among 70 second basemen to throw 100 throws on the year. Additionally, the Sox actually saw Bogaerts opt out of his contract and sign with the Padres this winter.
Although Story’s timeline is still to be determined, it appears the Sox will now have to figure out how to navigate their middle infield without Bogaerts or Story, at least for a few months. If the club decides to stick with in-house options, they could go with Enrique Hernández and Christian Arroyo, although Hernandez seemed destined to be the everyday center fielder, so they would have to find a solution there. Jarren Duran would be an option to take over in center, though he struggled in 2022 hitting just .221/.283/.363. There are a few other infielders on the roster like David Hamilton and Enmanuel Valdez, though they are recent additions and lack major league experience.
It is also possible that the club will seek external improvements. The top free agent options are all off the board, assuming today’s Carlos Correa deal with the Twins is what finally crosses the finish line. Elvis Andrus, Josh Harrison and Andrelton Simmons are some of the middle infield options still on the board if the Sox decide to go that route. On the trade market, there are a few players who could be available, such as Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Yankees, although an inter-division trade could be tricky. Amed Rosario of the Guardians has been mentioned as a speculative candidate, as has Nick Madrigal of the Cubs. The Sox and Marlins have reportedly discussed Joey Wendle and Miguel Rojas in trade talks, so perhaps those discussions can be revisited in light of today’s news.
However the Sox approach, it seems fair to say they’ve been given a shot for 2023. Despite being hurt in 2022, Story still hit 16 home runs in 94 games and slashed .238/.303/.434. One silver lining of the surgery is that there is at least one explanation for his diminished arm strength. If the surgery is successful in repairing his ligament and he is able to return to form, perhaps he can take the shortstop position later in the year. Story’s contract runs through 2027, but he has the ability to opt out after 2025, with the Sox then able to negate the waiver by extending another year and keeping him through 2028.