BOSTON -- Less than one year after eliminating the position, the Boston Red Sox will name a new medical director in the wake of one of the worst sieges of injuries in club history, team CEO Larry Lucchino said Monday.
According to a team source, Dr. Larry Ronan, who has served as the team's head internist since 2005, will be promoted to medical director as part of a major restructuring of the team's medical staff that is expected to be announced later this week.
The Red Sox had 27 players serve 34 stints on the disabled list (for a total of 1,729 days missed) in 2012, the most for any team since at least 1987. Key players including Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks and Clay Buchholz all spent significant time on the DL.
"There has been a restructuring of the entire medical operation,'' Lucchino said. "We've been attempting to do so the last couple of years.
"There will be some significant promotions and greater roles for some people who have been around for a while and lesser roles for a few others.
"I'd rather not comment on it until we've presented the entire package."
Lucchino confirmed that the Red Sox chose not to renew the contract of head physical therapist Mike Reinold, who was promoted to that position last January after serving as head trainer for two years and assistant trainer for four years before that. Reinold has been offered another position in the organization, which is still under discussion.
Privately, former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine chafed that Reinold exercised too much authority on when injured players could return to the field, and that players took too long to return from injury.
"It's the job of the medical staff to diagnose injuries, design treatment and provide information and recommendations to the manager on players' availability," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "There are times when an injury is so severe that the medical staff makes a necessary recommendation that a player not play. Often it's a judgment call and the manager is responsible for taking the information he gets from the medical staff and making a decision. He must weigh the player's best interest as well as the club's.
"We continue to strive for improvement in our sports medicine effort and we are fortunate to have a lot of talented people working for us who want nothing but to help players stay on the field and perform. It's an area we take very seriously because it's important to the players and important to our team success. We know we need to keep players on the field more in order to have success."
Ronan is a staff physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, where a colleague was Dr. Thomas Gill, the team's medical director until last year. Ronan is the senior advisor to the Center for the Medical Integration of Innovative Technology (CIMIT) and the director of the Thomas S. Durant, MD Fellowship in Refugee Medicine at MGH. He earned degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.
He is a highly regarded physician beyond the realm of sports, having served as personal physician for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. He sees hundreds of patients at Mass. General, where he has spent his entire career. In his role with the Durant Fellowship for Refugee Medicine, he sends doctors and nurses to underserved countries and has made frequent trips himself. He has been to Iraq and Haiti, and also was involved in rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
As a consultant to CIMIT, he offered insight on global health and education initiatives, as well as offering guidance on the care of injured soldiers or civilians in a war zone.