Trevor Storey has not played since July 12 when he was hit by a pitch. He is traveling with the Red Sox and has been taking batting practice. Steven Senne/Associated Press

Trevor Story’s return is drawing near.

The Boston Red Sox second baseman, who hasn’t played in more than month because a broken wrist, is traveling with the team on its road trip this week to Pittsburgh and Baltimore. He began taking batting practice on Tuesday for the first time since being hit by a pitch on the right hand July 12, and if it were up to him he believes he could play again soon.

“Getting pretty close,” Story said before Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh. “I’m taking (batting practice) so that’s kind of an indication of how close I am, and then the progression takes a few more days to test that out on the machine and get some rehab games in. I feel really great about where I’m at right now so sooner rather than later.”

Initially diagnosed with a deep bone bruise, the hope Story might not miss much time faded when his discomfort remained even after the bruise healed. Further evaluation revealed a hairline fracture in his wrist, and after that he was shut down for 10 days and kept home during the club’s early-August road trip to Houston and Kansas City to rehab.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said Story will need a couple of rehab games before he’s ready to return, but barring any setbacks he could soon become the latest and biggest addition to a club that’s finally approaching full health.

Once that day comes, Story hopes for a strong finish to what he acknowledged has been an up-and-down debut season in Boston.


“I’d say there’s been some good times but also some bad times, a little inconsistent for my liking and how I feel like I am as a player,” Story said. “Defense has been good, it’s been different playing second base but I’ve felt like I’ve embraced the challenge and been as athletic as I can over there trying not too much about it, but offensively just a little inconsistent is how I’d sum it up.”

Story is batting .221 with a .289 on-base percentage and .423 slugging percentage, all well below his usual career averages. Prior to the injury, he was also among Boston’s most prolific run producers with 15 home runs and 58 RBI, but much of that production came during a handful of scorching stretches and otherwise Story has been prone to lengthy skids at the plate.

Coming off signing a six-year, $140 million contract, Story’s struggles have occasionally prompted criticism from the fans, but Story said he understands where those people are coming from and overall feels like the city has welcomed him.

“Early on the criticism was fair, I think that’s the best way to describe the way they’ve welcomed me, it’s fair,” Story said. “They embrace you and I feel like they’ve embraced me as a Red Sox. That’s all you want as a player.”

JOSH WINCKOWSKI’S two-month run in the major leagues has come to an end.

The Red Sox optioned Winckowski back to Triple-A Worcester following his start Thursday night, according to multiple industry sources. That move will clear a roster spot for lefty Matt Strahm, who will be activated from the injured list (wrist contusion) before Friday’s game in Baltimore.


Boston did not have many great options to clear a spot for Strahm. Righty Jeurys Familia, who struggled in his team debut Wednesday after signing as a free agent last week, could have been designated for assignment but the Sox likely want to get a longer look at him before cutting bait. Lefty Austin Davis is out of options and has generally pitched well this year, so it’s unlikely the Red Sox would be willing to DFA him. So it’s Winckowski, who has made 11 starts in the big league rotation since being called up full-time in mid-June, who was sent off the roster.

Winckowski struggled in his MLB debut on May 28 but pitched well in five starts after joining the rotation in mid-June and had a 3.12 ERA as of July 2, when he gave up just one earned run in six innings against the Cubs. But the righty has struggled since July 7, posting a 6.75 ERA (26 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings) in seven outings. He allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings in Thursday’s 8-2 loss to the Pirates.

Winckowski will continue to be a rotation depth option for the Red Sox at Triple-A and is a leading candidate to rejoin the team when rosters expand from 26 to 28 players on Sept. 1. Boston still expects Nathan Eovaldi (trap soreness) to pitch Tuesday but could recall Winckowski for that start if Eovaldi is not ready and needs to be placed on the injured list. Winckowski can be recalled at any time if he’s replacing an injured player.

Winckowski’s demotion means that the Red Sox will likely stick with veteran lefty Rich Hill as their No. 5 starter for the time being.

THE RED SOX have entered a stretch of 12 straight games against American League wild-card contenders they are chasing in the standings. After this weekend’s three-game series in Baltimore, they’ll open a six-game homestand against Toronto and Tampa Bay. Boston wraps up August with three games in Minnesota.

If the Red Sox are serious about making the playoffs, these are the games they need to win.


“Now you’ve got to win series to gain ground these are the teams that are ahead of us,” Cora said. “It’s time to go.”

Boston hasn’t enjoyed much success against any of their playoff rivals. The club is 4-5 against the Orioles, 3-10 against the Blue Jays and 2-8 against the Rays, and those struggles are the main reason why Boston is a game below .500 and on the fringe of contention.

Now five games back of the final playoff spot with four teams to jump, the Red Sox are facing an uphill climb with time running short, but if the club can take advantage of this latest opportunity they may yet have a chance to get back into the hunt.

“We have our work cut out for us,” said designated hitter J.D. Martinez. “We’ve got Trevor (Story) back coming up, so that will be a plus, and we’ll see what happens.”

NIKO KAVADAS, the most productive hitter in the Red Sox minor league system this season, received another promotion Thursday.

The Red Sox sent the 2021 11th-round pick out of Notre Dame from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland. Kavadas went 0 for 4 in his debut with the Sea Dogs on Thursday night in Reading, Pennsylvania.


The 23-year-old first baseman began the season at Low-A Salem where he batted .286 with a .453 on-base percentage, .609 slugging percentage, 1.062 OPS, 14 homers, 18 doubles, one triple, 48 RBI, 54 walks and 70 strikeouts in 59 games.

He then batted .308 with a .472 on-base percentage, .592 slugging percentage, 1.064 OPS, 10 homers, four doubles, 28 RBI, 32 walks and 42 strikeouts in 37 games at Greenville.

He has a .460 on-base percentage and 24 homers in 96 games overall.

He has struck out in 27% of his plate appearances, but he has an impressive 20.7% walk rate.

Baseball America ranks Kavadas the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s system.

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