The key piece of the trade return for Mookie Betts might not be ready to start the 2020 season.
Newly acquired Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is currently being hampered by a back injury that's plagued him since late August and could linger through Opening Day, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe.
The injury was known during trade negotiations with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Speier added. It's also possible that Verdugo will be fully healthy in time for Boston's first game on March 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Verdugo last appeared in an MLB contest on Aug. 4 before getting stashed on the injured list with a strained oblique. He was activated at the end of the regular season but was held off the Dodgers' playoff roster.
Over 106 games during 2019, the 23-year-old Verdugo hit .294/.342/.475 with 12 homers and four stolen bases.