Bryce Brentz, who looked poised to make the jump from the minors to the Boston Red Sox' Major League club this season, will likely miss all of spring training. Brentz accidentally shot himself and will not be able to play for the foreseeable future.
According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, Brentz shot himself while cleaning his gun. The incident apparently happened shortly after Brentz participated in Boston's rookie developmental program in January. Brentz was scheduled to attend Major League camp this spring, but the injury will prevent him from doing so.
"Everything is fine," Brentz said. "After the rookie program, I had an accident. Everything is fine, but I was cleaning my gun and it accidentally discharged on me and I sustained an injury. Nothing serious. That's why I was out of big league camp, because at the time I'm not able to participate fully, but I am recovering very fast and should be OK for the season."
The injury was none too pleasing to the Red Sox front office. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe said via Twitter that Boston's GM, Ben Cherrington, was not happy with the incident. But Abraham also said that Brentz may be able to play in some games at the end of spring depending on how quickly he heals. It would be optimistic to think that he will heal in time to play, but it's possible.
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Brentz, a 24-year old outfielder, has shown promise in the Red Sox organization. Last season, he was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket where he played five games. Brentz has risen through Boston's organization quickly. He was playing A-Ball just two seasons ago. Hitting as well as he has in the minors will generally lead to quick promotions.
Last year with Double-A Portland, Brentz played 122 games and hit .296/.355/.478 with 17 home runs. He struggled in his late-season transition to Triple-A and hit just .118/.167/.118 in his five games with Pawtucket. Brentz was expected to prove himself at Triple-A this season and eventually make his way to the Majors. However, the injury could set him back.
It's unclear how severe the injury actually is as Brentz and the organization are not commenting publicly on where he was shot (it was int he leg) and how bad the bullet wound may be. If Brentz can make it back to play some games at the tail end of spring training, that will certainly help him gain some momentum going into the season.
Right now, Boston's outfield is projected to be Johnny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Shane Victorino. That's not a bad outfield, but if Brentz can hit, he could easily start edging one of those players out. Or he might finally force the Red Sox to decide whether they want to trade Ellsbury or not.