The Red Sox bullpen could become even better

One of Boston's biggest offense acquisitions might be closer to returning to the field.

Tyler Thornburg, who has missed all year with a right shoulder impingement, is feeling "some improvement" according to Manager John Farrell.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Stone/Boston Herald
After beginning a throwing program April 12, symptoms returned for Thornburg. Since then he hasn't be able to throw, remaining limited to just working out in the training room.
"As we said, ideally at the end of this week we'd hope to have a ball in his hand," Farrell said Saturday here at Fenway Park. "I don't know if that's going to be today. But based on the work that he's doing in the training room, the range of motion, some of the symptoms that are subsiding, we're hopeful that is getting closer.  
"And I know that is an inconclusive response. But at the same time, he's going to have a ball in his hand when he's first capable. And by no means have we written anything off. We feel like the throwing program is going to resume shortly and the progression following."
Thornburg was acquired from Milwaukee for Travis Shaw and prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington.

In 2015 with Milwaukee, he posted a 2.15 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 67 outings (67 innings).

Shaw however, is having a career year in Milwaukee. In 43 games he has already belted nine home runs and 34 RBIs. He's hitting a career high .287 to go along with an impressive .324 OBP and .532 SLG.

The addition of Thornburg to the bullpen could elevate them to an elite level, but Shaw could have solved the Red Sox third base woes. Boston is also looking to bring Carson Smith back into the bullpen along with Thornburg.

Smith underwent Tommy John surgery May 24, 2016 and missed almost all of last season. When healthy the previous year, Smith proved to be one of the more dominant relievers in the league.

In 82 career outings (81 innings), Smith has an impressive 2.00 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He averages 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings compared to just 2.9 walks.

"The next step would be to face hitters," Red Sox manager John Farrell said about Smith earlier this month. "But as far as a date which he would go out on a rehab assignment, that hasn't been established yet."

The Red Sox bullpen currently ranks fifth in the majors with a 2.98 ERA. With the potential additions of Thornburg and Smith, the Boston bullpen could become a dominant force.