Target date for Nick Pivetta’s Red Sox return is set

The Boston Red Sox are in desperate need of pitcher help, but Nick Pivetta may be returning sooner than expected.
Boston Red Sox v Oakland Athletics
Boston Red Sox v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox entered Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins with an 18-14 record, placing them in third place in the American League East. They have some work to do if they want to catch up to the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, but reinforcements may be on the way.

Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta was placed on the Injured List on April 9 after suffering a right elbow flexor strain. While rehabbing his elbow with Triple-A Wortcester on Thursday evening, he yielded three hits, four runs, four walks, and struck out five. The right-hander may be a bit rusty, but the Red Sox are optimistic about Pivetta's progress.

Red Sox hopeful about Nick Pivetta's return against Braves

Red Sox manager Alex Cora is hopeful that Pivetta will be activated from the 15-day Injured List to start against the Atlanta Braves this week.

"Everything is trending in the right direction," Cora said. "Hopefully he feels great tomorrow and there's a good chance he'll pitch in Atlanta."

Cora quickly dismissed the idea that could Pivetta could need another minor-league rehab start before returning. It's a tought matchup for Pivetta to return to, but the 31-year-old is likely happy about returning to the Majors. He recently expressed his disdain for the automatic balls and strikes system (ABS) that is used in Triple-A.

"I hate it," Pivetta said bluntly after Thursday's rehab start. "It's terrible and hopefully it never comes to baseball. The challenge system is fine. The strike zone is just weird. It doesn't fit. It doesn't match baseball."

Boston has been short on pitchers. Vaughn Grissom, who Boston acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves in December, made his debut with the Red Sox against the Twins.

Boston's two-game road series against Atlanta begins on Tuesday. Pivetta is 1-1 through two starts with the Red Sox this season. He has a 0.82 ERA, striking out 13 while walking just one through 11 innings.

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