"He had an accident," Cherington said. "He was at home [in Tennessee] cleaning a gun, and it accidentally went off. He was injured in the process. Fortunately for him, it's something he's going to recover from and be fine -- and [it] won't affect his baseball career. He wasn't 100 percent physically able, or wouldn't be at the beginning of camp. We ended up not bringing him to big league camp because he wouldn't be able to participate 100 percent."
Brentz was fortunate not to be seriously injured.
"The bullet went into his leg and out the other side," Cherington said. "I guess you could say he got lucky, relative to what happened. I think he understands he got lucky, and it's a serious thing and he has to be careful. He's here in Fort Myers and he's recovering -- and it's not going to get in the way of his future. But he won't be in big league camp."
Do the Red Sox have a club policy that prohibits players from using handguns?
"There's no club policy. Certainly, in a case like this, we've talked to Bryce and had a couple [of] conversations with him about how serious this is," Cherington said. "He wasn't doing anything illegal or anything bad. He had a gun he was trying to clean. There was an accident. It's something that you have to deal with case by case. We talked to Bryce about it."
The 24-year-old Brentz spent most of last season at Double-A Portland, and played five games for Triple-A Pawtucket. In 127 total games, he hit .290 with 17 homers, 76 RBIs and an .814 OPS.
"We wouldn't rule him out being in games by the end of Spring Training, but we'll see how it goes the next couple of weeks," said Cherington.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.