Carson Smith suffered a right shoulder subluxation on Monday night after being removed from his outing vs. the Oakland Athletics. Upon entering the dugout, Smith threw his glove against the wall in a fit of frustration. It was then that he felt his throwing shoulder pop out of and then immediately back into place.
All of that would have been fine, albeit unfortunate, had it ended there, but it didn’t. During an interview session with the media on Tuesday, Smith made some questionable and regrettable comments that were perceived to be aimed at Alex Cora.
“I think fatigue played a factor, and my shoulder just couldn’t handle it,” Smith said.
The implication here is that Smith felt that he has been overworked this year, and perhaps shouldn’t have been used in that game against Oakland on Monday. Alex Cora took a bit of exception to that comment.
In a media session on Wednesday, Cora told reporters, “I don’t agree with it,” when asked about Smith’s comments. He continued to say, “On a daily basis, we talk to pitchers and see how they feel. If they don’t feel that they can pitch that day, we stay away from them.”
Even considering the small amount of drama that this episode caused, it still would have probably been forgiven immediately if not for one little fact, Smith has barely been used this year when compared to the rest of the MLB.
Entering Wednesday, Smith had thrown 14.1 innings over 18 games. 161 other relievers in the MLB had thrown more than that in the same span. Additionally, 133 MLB pitchers had thrown more than Smith’s 263 pitches this year.
Moreover, he’s been the least used full time reliever on the Red Sox, with only Bobby Poyner (who has spent part of 2018 in AAA) and Steven Wright (who was just activated this week) having thrown less innings than Smith. Even Marcus Walden, who hasn’t been on the Major League roster since May 3, has pitched more innings than him.
It’s certainly possible that the media has blown this whole thing out of proportion, but it’s also 100% feasible that if Smith requires a DL stint, he’s already thrown his last pitch as a member of the Red Sox. We all know that instances less than this have led to the end of professional relationships before.