The Boston Red Sox (14-13) are treading water at third place in the AL East as they heal up from the injury. Starting pitcher Nick Pivetta looks to be one of their players returning soon, which could boost their already-blossoming rotation.

The right-hander threw live batting practice for the first time since straining his right elbow on April 9th, via's Ian Browne.

Boston fans will be happy to know that the session went well, via The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey.

“Pivetta said he’s feeling good, threw all his pitches, and happy with velo and pitch shape,” said McCaffrey. “Has to meet with the medical and front office to map out next steps. (Manager Alex) Cora had suggested a rehab start was a possibility this week.”

While it's always good to have healthy players, the Red Sox are actually in a luxurious position right now. They currently lead the MLB with a 2.73 ERA, thanks in large part to fellow starters Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck, and Garrett Whitlock.

Pivetta himself was doing well before the injury, allowing just one run across 11 innings. Could his return be the last push that Boston needs to shoot up the standings?

A healthy Nick Pivetta could give the Red Sox a truly scary rotation

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (37) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
© D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Pivetta has had an up-and-down tenure since joining the Red Sox. The Canadian international was traded to Boston from the Phillies on August 21st, 2020. He started hot, notching wins in both of his starts that year along with a 1.80 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 10 innings.

The seventh-year veteran continued his momentum into 2021, notching a 5-0 record in his first seven starts before getting placed on the COVID-related injury list. After that, the tide began to turn. He finished the season with a 9-8 record and a 4.56 ERA across 30 starts.

The New Mexico Junior College alum continued to struggle the following year, limping to a 10-12 record with a 4,56 ERA across 33 starts. After starting 2023 with a 6.30 ERA over eight starts, Boston finally demoted him to the bullpen.

Finally, Pivetta's arrow started pointing back up. He found his niche as a long reliever, even tossing six hitless and scoreless innings on July 17th against the Oakland Athletics. The 2013 fourth-round pick fanned 13 hitters that outing, setting a franchise record for the most strikeouts in a relief appearance. He finished with a sub-2.00 ERA as a reliever.

Thanks to his electric ending to last season, Pivetta was promoted back to the rotation to begin 2024. While it's a good sign that he was doing well pre-injury, the Red Sox will hope that this won't be a repeat of 2021. Although their pitching has been elite, their hitting has been another story. The team is batting just .235, good for 20th in the league. If Pivetta regresses to his previous form, their offense won't be able to keep up with the barrage of runs.

However, a hot Pivetta could make the pitching staff nearly unstoppable, which would carry a weak offense. Long story short, this hurler's injury progress could be the deciding factor towards Boston eventually earning a Wild Card berth.