Ben Cherington on Jackie Bradley Jr.: ‘At some point there is going to have to be more offense’
|08.06.14 at 10:01 pm ET|
Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., mired in an 0-for-24 slump that has dropped his season average to .218 with a .290 OBP and .299 slugging mark, is out of the Red Sox lineup for the second straight day. The reasons are two-fold: First, with Mookie Betts in the big leagues, the Sox felt they needed to get the 21-year-old steady playing time. Secondly, the team felt that Bradley could use more time to work on managing his swing to try to tap into the success he enjoyed while forging a .345 average, .406 OBP and .431 slugging mark over an 18-game stretch from June 29 to July 25.
“We’re trying to shorten up his approach at the plate where he was doing such a great job of that leading into the All-Star break,” manager John Farrell explained to reporters. “Felt like there was some need for some further maintenance and some work to take place.”
That work will be crucial to determining Bradley’s future role. He is one of four players in the big leagues this year with a sub-.300 OBP and slugging mark in at least 300 plate appearances, something that has mitigated the value of his Gold Glove-caliber defense and that, if not improved upon, will raise questions about whether he can be an everyday big leaguer going forward.
“He had made some adjustments as you guys saw late in June really and into July and went on a nice run. And then since the All-Star break, it obviously hasn’t gone well,” GM Ben Cherington told reporters on Wednesday. “Our expectation was, the way he went into the All-Star break, he would come out of it picking up where he left off and keep going. It hasn’t gone that way for him. He keeps working at it. He’s certainly learning still at the big-league level. His defense has been elite, as you said, and we know at some point there is going to have to be more offense. He knows that, too.”
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