|Bobby Valentine: ‘There’s a chance’ Adrian Gonzalez will see Fenway right field tomorrow night||05.25.12 at 5:55 pm ET|
A hot topic in Bobby Valentine’s pregame press conference before Friday’s Red Sox game one matchup of a three-game series with the Rays revolved around Adrian Gonzalez’s return to first base and the question of whether he’ll see time in right field at Fenway Park.
Gonzalez started in the outfield in four of the last five games – all on the road – and is moving back to first to “give him a break from running out to right field,” Valentine said on Friday.
He added that there’s a chance Gonzalez could see the outfield in Fenway for the first time tomorrow night when Will Middlebrooks returns to the lineup.
“There’s a chance of that happening,” Valentine said. “You never know what’s going to happen between now and then, so we’ll see what happens.”
Gonzalez’s relative inexperience in the outfield raises questions about whether he’ll be able to handle covering such a large Fenway right field. But Valentine said that he has no qualms about giving him a chance at Fenway.
“Some people have had that hesitation, and I’m not sure how to read it,” Valentine said. “I think he positions himself extremely well and he gets a very good jump on the ball. Does that make up for some of the foot speed? I’m not sure. When the ball is hit we do a pretty good job of retrieving it, and the opportunities he’s had have led me to believe that he could catch it if he could get to it.”
Since Kevin Youkilis’ return from injury, a three-way position battle has sprung up involving Middlebrooks, Youkilis and Gonzalez at both third and first base. Valentine fielded questions regarding Middlebrooks possibly playing another field position, and said while he’s considered it, he hasn’t put too much stock into the idea.
“I keep asking if there’s another position, and I keep hearing ‘no,’” Valentine said. “So other than DH, I’m not sure what that would be. We had experimented with some things, though. I wouldn’t say it’s out of the realm of possibilities, but it hasn’t been discussed in a light that has inspired me.”
He hasn’t talked directly to Middlebrooks about the possibility of playing another field position.
“Trying to make sure that a young player is concentrating on what he should be concentrating on, and he’s doing a pretty good job at that,” he said.
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