Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Tanner Houck of the Boston Red Sox is helped off of the field after being hit in the face by a ball during a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Tanner Houck is doing much better these days, all things considered.

Any time a ballplayer takes a ball directly off his face at high velocity is a major concern, for the guy’s health as a human, let alone his baseball future. Red Sox fans need not be reminded of Tony Conigliaro again. Or Bryce Florie.

So, needless to say, when Houck took a line drive off his cheek, it was a little frightening. But the latest report on his status sounds promising.

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That’s according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, who reported that Houck underwent surgery to repair a fracture in the area connecting his right eye and cheekbone. There’s still no clear timetable for his return, but Red Sox Manager Alex Cora told reporters that Houck will rest for a week then be re-evaluated to map out his return plan (via Mac Cerullo of the Boston Herald).

For shits n’ giggles, we’ll give you the outrageous amount of medical jargon that Speier’s source fed him: Houck underwent an “open reduction and internal fixation” to repair a fracture to his orbito-zygomaticomaxillary complex. The procedure describes putting pieces of broken bone back together using plates and screws. So you can see why I cleaned that up for you. He had face surgery.

Cora also said he thinks Houck suffered a slight concussion when he was hit with the line drive in the Red Sox’ June 16 game against the New York Yankees. But Cora added that Houck is “good” now, on that front. So there’s another obvious concern with an injury like this, but Houck seems to have avoided the worst.

Houck had pitched pretty well just prior to the injury, making it that much more unfortunate. His last two starts were both against the Yankees, with a combined 10 innings and only three runs allowed, to go with eight strikeouts and only two walks.

  • How is the Red Sox’ rotation doing?

    Jun 16, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck (89) reacts after getting hit in the face with a line drive during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Tanner Houck of the Boston Red Sox is checked on after being hit in the face by a ball during a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

    Red Sox starters have gone a combined 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in the 12 days since Houck’s injury. Brayan Bello has continued to emerge as another quality young piece of the rotation, with a 2.52 ERA and an opposing OPS of just .626 over nine starts dating back to the start of May.

  • What other injuries are the Red Sox dealing with?

    BOSTON, MA - JUNE 1: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox bites on his glove as he leaves the game in the middle of the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park on June 1, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    Chris Sale (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    Chris Sale gets injured so much that it has ceased to be major news. It’s more in the “well, obviously” department. But Sale is reportedly undergoing a second MRI on a stress reaction in his throwing shoulder, according to Ian Browne. He has a rough timetable to return in August.

  • Trevor Story eyeing July…as a DH

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 14: Trevor Story #10 of the Boston Red Sox grounds into a double play to end the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on June 14, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Trevor Story (Elsa/Getty Images)

    Shortstop Trevor Story has been the most unfortunate injury to hit the Red Sox in 2023. Not only could they use his bat in the lineup, but they did a poor job adding replacements for the first half of the season. But Story is reportedly eyeing a return at DH in July, with the idea of finally taking over at shortstop in August.

  • Plenty more expected back in July

    Richard Bleier of the Boston Red Sox looks on against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Richard Bleier (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    July could be the month that the beleaguered Red Sox finally, mercifully, have some semblance of good health. Assuming there are no other baseballs to the face over the next week or so. Here’s a quick list of who’s targeting a July return date for the Red Sox:

    — RHP John Schreiber (right lat strain)
    — LHP Richard Bleier (left shoulder inflammation)
    — LHP Joely Rodriguez (left shoulder inflammation)
    — C Reese McGuire (right oblique strain)
    — INF Pablo Reyes (abdominal strain)
    — INF Yu Chang (left wrist fracture)

    Schreiber is listed at as mid-July at the earliest, so it’s certainly possible he cuts it close as far as returning in July at all.

  • We’ll continue to keep you updated on all the Red Sox’ injuries and other topics surrounding the team throughout the summer here at

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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