The Boston Red Sox just completed an uninspiring 3-7 homestand after a surprising season-opening 7-3 road trip. Their losing ways at home dropped the 10-10 Red Sox into last place in the American League East, a position that was expected after an uninspiring offseason. Injuries have marked the first part of the season, but after their 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Guardians Thursday, manager Alex Cora had some hopeful words about the condition of 3rd baseman Rafael Devers.

Boston's best players was out of the lineup once again in the series finale, and there have been fears that a serious injury could be at the root of the problem. Through the first 20 games of the season, Devers has had shoulder and knee problems. Cora said that the knee issue appears to be a bone bruise at this point and that the slugger is not going on the Injured List.

Prior to the game against Cleveland, Cora said Devers was going to have an MRI on his knee. His remarks after the game presumably came after the MRI was completed.

“He didn’t feel great yesterday, he felt like he wasn’t able to stay on his leg,” Cora said. “I talked to him last night, I said ‘Well, let’s do this so we know.’ Hopefully, it’s what we think it is and we deal with it, and (he) gets treatment, all that stuff, but I think it’s more for him to (have) peace of mind.”

Devers hopes to avoid long-term injury

Devers has played in just 13 of the first 20 games of the season for the Red Sox. His timing and overall production have been off after a strong showing in spring training. He is slashing .188/.328/.375 with nine hits, three doubles, two home runs, five runs and five RBI, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts.

Devers added that he is hoping to avoid going on the Injured List, but that he wanted to be cautious in his approach. “I don't know yet. But the thing that I know is like I don't want to go back too soon. … I'm going to take my time to be ready.”

The Red Sox are hoping that Devers will soon return to the lineup and produce much better overall numbers along with a significant upgrade in power. They were also hoping to see an improvement in his defensive play, but that has not surfaced to this point.

In addition to the shoulder and knee issues, Devers and slugging outfielder Tyler O'Neill collided on a pop up Monday that left both players shaken up. While Rafael Devers was able to avoid injury on that play, O'Neill has been place on the 7-day Injured List with concussion-like symptoms.

The Red Sox are scheduled to play three games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and O'Neill would be eligible to return after that series. The Red Sox will travel to Cleveland to play the Guardians next week. Cora was hopeful about O'Neill's status in the near future.

“Yesterday he had an OK day after the workout,” Cora said. “Today, he seems like he has more energy. But you know this is an every-day thing. They’re still going to check on him and we will see.”