BOSTON — Tanner Houck has been following the Red Sox games on TV while he recovers from a facial fracture suffered June 16 when he was hit with a line drive, and is beginning to get antsy about returning.
“I’m getting real jealous I can’t be out there,” Houck — speaking to the media for the first time since his injury — said Saturday before Boston’s game against the Oakland Athletics. “I’m ready to get back, ready to get going. But I know gotta check all the boxes and get cleared.”
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The Red Sox pitcher, underwent surgery June 27 and had a plate inserted in his face.
Houck is still experiencing some pain when he bites down and has a small incision on his cheekbone where he was hit. He also has stitches in his mouth and his face is swollen. Overall, though, he’s happy with how his recovery has gone.
“Feeling good. been about 10, 11 days since my surgery,” Houck said. “Feeling pretty much back to normal, got some actual food in me. … Feeling better each day.”
The right-hander said he lost about seven pounds due to being on a liquid diet, but was cleared by his doctor to eat solid food last week — and immediately ordered breakfast on Uber Eats — and is working on putting the weight back on.
Houck will begin throwing Tuesday during the MLB All-Star break. He’s not quite sure what will follow, but he’s confident he’ll have a “quick ramp up.”
“Luckily it’s nothing to do with the arm or anything like that,” Houck said. “Mainly right now I cant bite down and put too much pressure there. But it will just be kind of a quick ramp up. I think it’ll be two weeks, at least, of normal throwing before I can touch the mound.
“All things considered, I got pretty lucky.”
Houck has dealt with injuries before, undergoing back surgery in 2022 that ended his season prematurely. He noted the pain he dealt with after his back surgery was more than what he experienced after his facial surgery, calling his fracture one of the “weirdest injuries” he’s suffered
“Definitely the weirdest injury I think I’ve ever had,” Houck said. “The rest of my body feels great. I feel like I could be out there tomorrow.”
Alex Cora doesn’t know just how quickly the Red Sox will be able to get Houck back on the mound, but said during his pregame media availability Saturday “the fact he’s gonna be able to throw next week, that’s a good start.”
Despite getting hit in the face and undergoing surgery, Houck said he didn’t experience ” a ton of pain” throughout the process.
“The body works in miraculous ways to subdue that,” Houck said, adding he took pictures of the progress of the swelling in his face. … I would say I had a fairly easy recovery.”
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Houck said he’s been dealing with the injury fine and hasn’t really talked to anyone about it, just joking with Justin Turner about when he got hit in the face during spring training. His wife, Abby, also joked to the team to get him back on the mound as soon as possible.
Although it was a scary incident, Houck isn’t mentally shaken up by it and is ready to get back on the mound to help the Red Sox.
“I look at it as part of the game,” Houck said. “Injuries and unfortunate events are going to happen. We’re standing 60 feet, six inches away and stuff like this is gonna happen. It’s about how you bounce back.”
Houck has a few more eye appointments and will see the surgeon again in a few months to make sure everything is healing properly. The plate in his face is here to stay, but he knows the outcome could have been much worse than it was.
“I’ve definitely been counting my blessings for it,” Houck said. “It could have been my eye, it could have been my nose, jaw. It could have been so much fo a worse process. The biggest thing I keep is saying is I’m real lucky.”