Carson Smith (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)
DUNEDIN, Fla. — When draw up predictions for the Red Sox bullpen in 2017, it’s often easy to forget the guy who was supposed to be their eighth-inning answer a year ago.
Monday back in Fort Myers, Carson Smith put himself back into the conversation
The reliever, who first had elbow discomfort during a spring training game last March 21, threw off a mound for hte first time. And while a realistic return date still wouldn’t seem to be before well into May, Smith’s 18-pitch session was a significant step in the right direction.
“Coming back from Tommy John myself, and seeing other pitchers, that’s a marker you’re looking for, getting on the mound that first time,” Farrell said. “He’s done very good as far as progressing through consecutive days of long-toss and flat ground. That’s all been handled fine. So today, another positive step for him. … I wouldn’t categorize today as a full bullpen, but it’s a significant day.”
Smith, in case you forgot, was dealt for from Seattle prior to last season along with Roenis Elias in exchange for Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro. Miley is currently with the Orioles, having been traded to Baltimore last July 31, while Aro is still with the Mariners but not on the 40-man roster after being designated for assignment.
The guy who was acquired to help fill that eighth-inning spot this time around, while Smith heals, Tyler Thornburg,threw out to 180 feet Monday and is slated to participate in a bullpen session Wednesday. Thornburg has been scaled back while acclimating himself to a more intense shoulder strengthening program.