Pomeranz past last season's elbow woes

Red Sox lefty feeling great, ready to compete for rotation spot

Pomeranz past last season's elbow woes

The first thing Drew Pomeranz did when last season ended was try to fix the nagging pain in his left elbow. Fortunately, surgery was not deemed necessary. Instead, he got a stem cell shot.

"I'm ready to go," Pomeranz said from the Red Sox Winter Weekend event in Connecticut. "It just promotes healing, I guess. It just uses your own stem cells, your bone marrow and just kind of adds some help to whatever area it's injected with blood flow."

The treatment is experimental, Pomeranz acknowledged, and cells from his hip bone were transferred to his elbow.

Though Pomeranz never made excuses, the elbow woes were likely a culprit for his dropoff in performance after being acquired from the Padres in July.

Pomeranz's five K's in relief

For San Diego, Pomeranz was an All-Star, going 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA in 17 starts. In 14 appearances with Boston, the lefty was 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA.

"It's kind of hard to get rest when you want to be out there pitching and make all your starts," Pomeranz said. "Everybody deals with a little bit of something during the year. I just had to fight through it to get to the end of the season. Now I've had some time to let it heal, and I think I gave it enough time because I feel pretty good throwing."

He also sees some clear flaws from late in the season that weren't health-related.

"I think I wasn't as accurate with some of my pitches," Pomeranz said. "I did a really good job of staying on the inside of the plate earlier in the year. I think I found the middle of the plate a little bit toward the end of the year for whatever reason -- I don't know. It being late in the season, I was just trying to figure that out. I take all of those things into account heading into the new year. I thought about them a lot this year, as far as my game plan getting ready for another season in Boston."

Pomeranz K's Saunders in the 8th

There will be competition in the rotation, as Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright are vying for the final two spots. It speaks of the depth the Red Sox have in their rotation that two pitchers who were All-Stars last season (Wright and Pomeranz) don't have guaranteed spots.

"In my head, I always feel like I'm competing for something," Pomeranz said. "The moment you start to feel comfortable, you lose a little bit of an edge. Whether I'm competing or whether I'm not, I still look at it like I am, and that keeps me prepared and helps me push a little harder to be successful."

Given how well he pitched for the Padres in 2016, it's easy to forget that Pomeranz was actually competing for a starting spot in Spring Training.

"I had to pull [Padres manager] Andy Green aside last year and say, 'What are we doing? I want to start and not be in the bullpen,'" said Pomeranz.

The beauty of the situation for Boston is that Pomeranz has the versatility to pitch in relief if that's how it plays out.

Pomeranz fans Jones

But after giving up a top pitching prospect in Anderson Espinoza to get Pomeranz, it's clear the club thinks the lefty has the talent to give them 200 innings a season instead of 70 or 80.

Even as Pomeranz had an exciting offseason, getting married and honeymooning in Hawaii and Australia, he didn't lose sight of what needs to be done to prepare for 2017.

"My wife's very active, too, so we enjoy running and working out in different places. It was kind of cool to be in a different country and do that," said Pomeranz. "I feel great."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.