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Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story set to begin rehab assignment on Friday

The All-Star has been out since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in January.

Trevor Story of the Boston Red Sox takes batting practice before a game against the New York Yankees on June 16, 2023 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball right now, winners of 10 of 12 since the start of July and just a game back of the Houston Astros for the AL’s final Wild Card spot entering play on Tuesday night. Even better, they’re about to get a big piece back for the stretch run:

All-Star shortstop Trevor Story, who’s yet to make his 2023 debut after undergoing Tommy John surgery in his throwing elbow back in January, is finally set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment after months of recovery and build-up. The team has yet to offer any sense of how long Story’s stint in the Minors will be, but given how long it’s been since he played in a live game — and how important it is that his arm be healthy and at full strength when they finally insert him back into the infield — it’ll almost certainly be more than a few games.

Still, this is tremendous news for Boston, whose middle infield spots have been one of their few weaknesses. The Red Sox have among the AL’s best outfields in Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo, plus a superstar in Rafael Devers, a bounce-back year from Justin Turner and a promising young piece in first baseman Triston Casas. But Enrique Hernandez (.598 OPS) and Christian Arroyo (.670) have struggled mightily this year — and prospects Enmanuel Valdez and David Hamilton didn’t fare much better — while Yu Chang recently returned to the lineup after missing more than two months due to injury.

Slotting Story into the shortstop spot will make an already-deep lineup — baseball’s best since July 1 — that much deeper. A two-time All-Star and Sliver Slugger winner, Story was a power/speed dynamo with the Colorado Rockies, putting up three 20/20 seasons and leading the NL in steals during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. He signed a six-year, $140 million deal with Boston ahead of the 2022 season, but he hit just .238/.303/.434 while appearing in just 93 games due to a myriad of injuries. That bad run of health continued in the winter, as offseason elbow discomfort lingered and lingered — until finally the team announced in January that Story would need surgery to repair his UCL.