FORT MYERS, Fla. — There’s a riddle surrounding Red Sox spring training.

Will any member of the bottom half of Boston’s rotation be ready to start the season?

With two weeks to go before somebody from the wounded trio of Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez will be pronounced ready or not to pitch in Game 4 and then Game 5, each day for the rest of the camp marks an important milestone for each pitcher.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez throws. Sunday, it was Pomeranz’s turn.

On Saturday, Wright threw three encouraging innings of batting practice that could be the stepping stone he needs to be ready for Game 4 against Tampa Bay on April 1.

Going by the five-day schedule, he’s right in line for it.


Going by his attitude, you might as well pencil him in.

“Obviously see how it feels (Sunday) and the next day,” Wright said afterward, “but if I get one more live BP, get four or five innings, or even if it’s a (simulated) game or whatever the scenario is, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be ready for Opening Day or whatever that first turn around is.”

Manager Alex Cora has been circumspect when it comes to predicting or even laying odds on which of the trio has the best shot of taking his first possible turn in the regular season.

Cora’s too smart to back himself into declaring a timetable. His go-to line this spring about the healing starters is that there is no rush and no push for anyone to be ready before they are truly ready.

But Cora, plus nearly everyone from the Red Sox front office, took in Wright’s performance on Field 2 behind JetBlue Park.

And he was impressed.


“It got better and better – now we just have to see how he reacts to it, how he feels, and we move forward,” Cora said. “The eye test, just watching him, it seems like he’s in a good place. He got a comebacker in the last inning, he was fine. It seems like there was no hesitation.”

Wright has been having good days and bad days this spring, as his long recovery from last May’s knee surgery reaches, presumably, its end.

As recently as Thursday and Friday, he was plagued with doubts caused by unhappiness with how his knuckleball looked and soreness in his knee. Then, a break in the clouds occurred.

“I threw a little bit off the mound (Friday) to try to test it a little bit, and I was like, ‘Wow, it actually feels pretty good,'” Wright said.

“There was a possibility that I wasn’t going to throw (Saturday). I came in, like, ‘Wow, I actually feel pretty good today. Might as well give it a shot. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? You just don’t do it?’ So then all of a sudden I go out in that third inning and I’m like, ‘Dude, it actually feels pretty good.’

“If I can do that, there’s no reason, if I can get one or two more of those (that I won’t be ready for the start of the season). Obviously there’s still a chance I don’t. I’m not going to sit here and say for sure because I just don’t know, but if I keep progressing the way I have been, there’s definitely a good chance that I’m going to be able to break with the team.”


For Wright, the change for the better boiled down to him being able to trust in his athleticism and durability rather than play with fear in the back of his mind.

“I had the shoulder injury (bursitis) a couple years ago, it took a while to get over that and trust it to let it go. This is the same thing,” Wright said. “The knuckleball is a misnomer sometimes. I throw more with my legs than I do my arm. It’s something that, I’ve got to keep trusting it, keep putting the work in. Challenging it is huge for getting the uncertainty out of the back of my mind – you’ve got to keep pushing it.

“If you have one (bad) day, that’s fine. If you have two or three, you’ve got to re-evaluate. But the last couple days, since the last live BP, it’s responded really well. I’m just going to keep going out there, keep pushing it, until they tell me to take a day.”

Wright’s optimism is exactly what Cora wants to see and hear.

“I saw him in the dugout, he was upbeat,” Cora said. “I guess he talked to you guys and it seems like he’s willing to push it now. So that’s great. Especially when it comes from the player, to hear him saying positive things about where he’s at, that’s great. So (today) we’ll go to the drawing board and see what’s next.”

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