Dodgers: Alex Verdugo injury could delay Red Sox debut

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox runs during a team workout on February 18, 2020 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox runs during a team workout on February 18, 2020 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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What has outfielder Alex Verdugo been doing since he was traded from Los Angeles to Boston in the Mookie Betts deal?

As part of the blockbuster deal that brought superstar Mookie Betts to Los Angeles, the Dodgers traded away Alex Verdugo, a young outfielder who wears his heart on his literal tattooed sleeve.

Since the trade was officially announced, Verdugo has been trying to recover from a back injury that sidelined him for the final month and postseason of 2019. The Dodgers did not reveal details about the injury publicly, but the Red Sox quickly called it a “stress fracture” after acquiring him in February.

With the novel coronavirus shuttering rehab facilities and MLB stadiums, the 23-year-old outfielder has been progressing slower than the Red Sox had originally hoped in his recovery process. He finally was able to resume swinging in mid-March. And just two weeks ago, Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom said the outfielder was “coming along well.” Clearly, social distancing restrictions are impacting Verdugo’s ability to follow a normal rehab schedule.

Verdugo was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft, and quickly rose through the farm system ranks, peaking as the Dodgers’ number two overall prospect after the 2018 season.

Over 106 games in 2019, he flashed signs at the Major League level of what he was able to do against minor league pitching. He slashed an impressive .294/.342/.475 line filling in for an injured A.J. Pollock before catching the injury bug, himself.

Verdugo posted a heartfelt message to Dodgers fans and the city of Los Angeles on his Instagram account after it became official that he was traded to Boston. The 23-year-old Arizona native made a mark during his short stint at Dodger Stadium, his fearless swing and swagger endearing him to many fans.

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Upon being introduced in Beantown, Verdugo admitted that he grew up as a Red Sox fan, rooting for David Ortiz. A good start in trying to win over the diehard fanbase. Despite the slow progress, the Sox remain hopeful he can be ready for Opening Day, whenever that should come.

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