Full Count
A Furiously Updated Red Sox Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts out; Jackie Bradley Jr., Marco Hernandez in 04.21.17 at 3:29 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts out; Jackie Bradley Jr., Marco Hernandez in

Xander Bogaerts (USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts (USA Today Sports)

The sight of Xander Bogaerts heading down to the X-ray room at Rogers Centre after Thursday’s Red Sox’ win probably was a sign he might not be in the lineup Friday in Baltimore.

Bogaerts had seemingly injured his hand sliding into second base while trying to stretch his two-out single into a double in the ninth inning against the Blue Jays. After the game, the shortstop said he was OK. But when lineups came out Friday afternoon, it was Marco Hernandez who got the start against the Orioles instead of Bogaerts.

The Red Sox do have a regular returning to the starting group, with Jackie Bradley Jr. coming off the 10-day disabled list (knee) after a two-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup against Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy on the mound for the hosts, and Drew Pomeranz pitching for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mookie Betts RF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Marco Hernandez SS

For all Red Sox news, go to the team page by click here.

The injury nobody knew was holding Craig Kimbrel back last season 04.21.17 at 10:43 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on The injury nobody knew was holding Craig Kimbrel back last season
Craig Kimbrel (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

After striking out all three batters he faced against the Rays Monday, Craig Kimbrel talked about the differences between last season and this one.

“I think last year I was battling through some things and maybe got in some bad habits,” he said. “Right now, everything feels great. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

The immediate assumption was that Kimbrel was referencing his knee injury, the one that required midseason surgery and forced him to miss about a month.

Not so, according to the closer.

“I banged my finger up a little bit last year and it kind of got me into some bad habits, yanking the ball,” Kimbrel told WEEI.com.

As it turned out, the biggest issue for the reliever in his first season with the Red Sox was dealing with an injury to his right index finger, suffered while working out in late April.

“You’re going to adjust off of it. You can do that to a certain extent,” explained Kimbrel. “You have to in this game. You’re not going to feel the same every time out there. There are going to be times where you do one thing where you overcompensate for another thing, but over the course of a season you can into some bad habits doing that.”

It was a problem that those outside the clubhouse weren’t aware of, but the Red Sox had been keeping a close eye on.

“He obviously pitched with it,” said Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis. “But with pitchers, with hands and fingers, it doesn’t take a lot sometimes to cause you to change a little bit of pressure that alters the release of the ball. I think when you look at his strength and his power, he’s able to compensate. Obviously it’s a lot more natural where he’s at right now.”

“Knowing he was dealing with it, only he knows how much it was affecting him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There was constant checking in with him to make sure it wasn’t putting him in a position to create further discomfort or take away from his performance, overall. We knew it was there, but to his credit he never used it as a distraction more than it might have been.”

Ironically, Kimbrel points to his knee injury as somewhat of a blessing.

Not only did the time down allow for the finger to properly heal, but gave the closer a chance to breakdown the bad habits he had fallen into partly because of the ailment.

“It did [help with the finger]. And the time with my knee really helped me heal mentally, as well,” he said. “We looked into what I was doing wrong. We were making sure my knee was healthy, but we also made sure my mechanics were going in the right direction.

“We looked at release points and yanking the ball. It was just something I did all year. Not to say I won’t have some games where I won’t do it this year, it’s just trusting my stuff and so far I’ve done that.”

What Kimbrel has been delivering this season is undeniably more powerful than what had been a somewhat up and down 2016 campaign.

Yes, he did blow his first save Thursday when allowing a second-pitch home run to Kendrys Morales in Toronto. But the fact he struck out five of his next six batters offered more proof of why Farrell trusted him to follow up Chris Sale in the first place.

Kimbrel has now faced 34 batters and struck out exactly half of them, walking just two along the way.

Thanks in part to a finger that works properly, and a year under his belt in Boston, the Red Sox have clearly found themselves an improved game-ender.

“We just dealt with it. There was nothing we could do about it,” Kimbrel said of the finger.

“Anything that happened last year I can’t go back and change it. Going into this year, I know there are going to be new obstacles. That’s part of the game. I’m just trying to enjoy each day I’ve got for what it is and not really worry about the other stuff. I have to worry about today and this year. I can’t get caught up in what happened last year, going out and trying to prove anything. All I can do is show up, play ball and do what I can do.”

It’s official: Chris Sale is pitching like Pedro Martinez 04.20.17 at 8:26 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on It’s official: Chris Sale is pitching like Pedro Martinez
Chris Sale (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — You can start with the numbers.

In case you forgot, Pedro Martinez was really good in his first four starts with the Red Sox. He pitched 32 innings and gave up three runs for an 0.84 ERA. Opponents hit .148 against him, with Martinez striking out 44 and walking seven.

Chris Sale?

After his eight innings in the Red Sox’ 4-1, 10-inning win against the Blue Jays, he is sitting with a 0.91 ERA, having allowed three runs in 29 2/3 innings. He has struck out 42, walked six and allowed a .147 batting average.

But it’s more than that. It’s the image he’s portraying. Complete dominance.

In this case, it was a 102-pitch outing in which he struck out 13, and didn’t allow a run. And while he was torturing such Blue Jays hitters as Jose Bautista (4 strikeouts) and Jarrod Saltalmacchia (3 strikeouts), Sale was throwing virtually every pitch for a strike. There was 80 of them, to be exact.

It left an impression.

“It’s the best game I’ve ever caught,” said Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon. “He was throwing every pitch in every count. He likes to attack.”

As Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis explained when talking about watching Sale, “It’s different.”

You know it when you see it. You did when Pedro pitched. Willis realized it back when serving as the coach for Cliff Lee, C.C. Sabathia and Felix Hernandez, all of whom went on Cy Young runs. It’s just different. That’s how watching Sale has felt.

“The pace he works. The strikes that he throws. The confidence that he throws each pitch with, regardless of the speed,” Willis said. “I think that’s the key. He’ll show you 96 or 97 [mph], then he will reel it back at 91 or 88 and then he will change speed with the breaking ball. And it’s all with total confidence and conviction. I’ve seen guys have good runs. The way Chris does it, some of the movement he gets, and some of the swings you see him get, it’s just different.”

Yes, the Red Sox don’t score runs for Sale. They didn’t before Thursday, and they couldn’t get one before the starter exited his latest outing. The same thing happened to Martinez in his first season with the Red Sox, with his new club scoring more than three runs just twice over his first nine starts.

It’s no coincidence. These are the guys who pitch at a level where opposing pitchers know they have to be their absolute best. It’s part of the deal.

“Nobody is perfect,” Sale said. “Get after these four days and try and do the same thing next time around.”

True enough. But around these parts, this seems as close to pitching perfection as we’ve seen in some time.

Does Chris Sale's starts remind you of Pedro Martinez when he joined the Red Sox?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
John Farrell explains why Chris Sale didn’t pitch in the ninth inning, but Craig Kimbrel did 04.20.17 at 5:24 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on John Farrell explains why Chris Sale didn’t pitch in the ninth inning, but Craig Kimbrel did

Chris Sale (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — The first sign that Chris Sale probably didn’t want to come out of the game after the eighth inning was where Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis had to find the starter.

The lunch room.

Thursday afternoon’s game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays was in a scoreless tie. Sale had thrown 102 pitches (80 strikes), having struck out 13 and walked just one. So while the Red Sox went to bat in the ninth, the pitcher adjourned to the area that was about as far away from the dugout as a player can get during the game.

It wasn’t far enough away.

After the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead on Xander Bogaerts’ two-out single (which was immediately followed by a one-minute, 54-second review of a tag at second), Red Sox manager John Farrell chose to end Sale’s day and bring on closer Craig Kimbrel.

“He probably figured we were going to ask him,” joked Willis.

“I came in and literally had to go all the way down to the food room just to ask how he felt, how his legs were. He was adamant that he was good. He was ready to keep throwing. I got back in the dugout and I told John. But once we took the lead, as good as Craig has been the last few times out, it made sense,”

“I’m going to want the ball in that situation 10 times out of nine,” Sale said. “It is what it is. Do I want to? Yeah. But at the end of the day, he’s the manager and makes the calls. Check the book. Craig’s been pretty damn good back there.”

The move back-fired, with Kimbrel allowing a solo homer off the bat of Kendrys Morales on just the closer’s second pitch, an 96 mph fastball.

After the game, Farrell explained his thinking.

“It was a tough decision, but one where, we take the lead, we’ve got Craig Kimbrel, who’s thrown the baseball extremely well,” he said. “He’s been dominant in his own right. He’s well-rested. After kind of a long inning after we get a challenge review, we score that run late in the inning, felt it was time to turn it over to a guy that was fresh and powerful. Unfortunately, the second pitch goes out of the ballpark. But we’ve responded as we’ve done many different times where either the game’s been tied late or we’ve had to come from behind, and we did it again today.”

As it turned out, the manager explained the delay caused by the review of Bogaerts’ sliding into second ultimately might have been the tipping point.

“The additional time, yeah, that was part of the decision,” Farrell said.

Farrell also noted that even if the Red Sox hadn’t tied the game in the ninth, there was a strong chance Kimbrel — who hadn’t pitched since Monday — would be called upon.

“We had talked about it and actually had Kimbrel warming up in the event that … knowing that they’ve used their closer already, likely that Kimbrel’s in that game as well,” said the manager of his closer, who would go on to strike out five of the six batters he faced.

“It’s not an easy decision, but when you have a guy like Kimbrel and how he’s throwing the baseball the last few times out, that’s why he’s here,” Willis said. “It didn’t work out, but more times than not it does.”

The 102 pitches would ultimately be the lowest total of Sale’s four starts this season, with the lanky lefty totaling 104, 108 and 111 pitches, respectively, leading up to this start.

Coming into the game, Morales was 5-for-25 against Sale, and had gone 1-for-3 this time around, singling in his most recent at-bat. The switch-hitter had faced Kimbrel just one other time, getting hit by a pitch.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Mookie Betts’ bases-loaded double with two outs in the 10th inning landed Kimbrel with the win and some solace for the team.

“I didn’t want to lose the game. I still had a job to do,” Kimbrel said. “Carl came through and told me if we scored some runs I was going back out. I want to go back out in a tie ballgame. Just that frustration. I gave up the game. I felt like it was my job to keep the game close and keep it going. Guys did a good job, great at-bats. Mookie got a big hit. It was a great ballgame.”

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1: Mookie Betts the hero, but Chris Sale was undoubtedly the star 04.20.17 at 3:45 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1: Mookie Betts the hero, but Chris Sale was undoubtedly the star
Chris Sale (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — Mookie Betts came up biggest when it counted the most Thursday afternoon.

The Red Sox right fielder’s double into the left field corner with two outs and the bases loaded in the 10th inning allowed for John Farrell’s team to claim a 4-1 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

But, even after the game-winner, it was Chris Sale who everybody was buzzing about.

The Red Sox starter continued to offer a Pedro-esque appearance, this time needing just 102 pitches to go eight innings and not allow a single run. The lefty struck out 13, walked one and threw 80 of his pitches for strikes.

It wasn’t just a good performance. It was historic. Sale joined Nolan Ryan and Frank Tana as the only pitchers to go eight or more innings and allow no runs while striking out 13 or more and not get a win.

Through four starts, Sale’s ERA now stands at 0.91.

The only reason Sale didn’t come away with a win this time around was because of a lack of run support, and a decision to replace in the ninth inning that back-fired.

Back-to-back hits in the ninth by Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts gave the Sox a short-lived 1-0 lead, as Kendrys Morales’ solo homer to lead off the home half of the ninth off Craig Kimbrel tied the game at one.

The Morales shot came on Kimbrel’s second pitch of the game, a 96 mph fastball. The Red Sox closer did come back and earn the win by completing his two innings, striking out the side in the 10th. (For the explanations and reaction regarding the move to replace Sale, click here.)

For a complete game recap, click here.

It doesn’t look like Hanley Ramirez will be using his first baseman’s glove all that much 04.20.17 at 11:29 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on It doesn’t look like Hanley Ramirez will be using his first baseman’s glove all that much

Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup Monday. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup Monday. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez’s sore shoulder. Those two things have made the Red Sox adjust their initial plan when it comes to managing the first base position.

It’s looking more and more like Ramirez isn’t going to be using his first basemen’s glove as much as the Red Sox initially thought.

“He and I have had many conversations about this,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We know we have inter-league coming up relatively soon in National League ballparks. He’s aware of that. I’m not throwing the towel in on him playing first base. At the same time we’ve been able to be pretty darn productive with Mitch going every day.”

So, what about the plan to have Ramirez play first base, giving Chris Young an opportunity to serve as a designated hitter?

“That still is an alignment I would like us to achieve,” Farrell said.

With Ramirez’s shoulders not allowing him to play first throughout spring training, it delayed the process of implementing the original strategy. And when Ramirez was stricken with an illness, eliminating the plan to play him in the field in Detroit, it paved the way for Moreland to show he could handle the first against lefties and righties.

Moreland came into Thursday afternoon’s game hitting .351 with an 1.010 OPS. Against left-handers the lefty hitter was managing a .273 batting average and .839 OPS.

“After the missed the series in Detroit, we kind of backed away from that, giving him a chance to regroup physically,” said Farrell of Ramirez working out at first base. “But that’s not something we’re turning the page away from.”

Farrell also pointed out that, after his conversations with the righty hitter, Ramirez is still open to playing in the field.

“[He’s] not resistant,” Farrell noted. “We’re getting to the point with Jackie [Bradley] coming back, getting to full strength that this is going to be more of the intent than it’s been because quite honestly we haven’t had the pressing need with the injuries we’ve dealt and guys being sick.”

If Ramirez isn’t going to play in the field until the Red Sox’ first inter-league road game, coming May 9 in Milwaukee, one of the challenges for Farrell will be finding playing time for Young. Bradley is returning to the lineup Friday, and Andrew Benintendi has been hitting lefties at a .357 clip.

“Where he’s going to filter through and be in a similar role that he was when he signed here,” said Farrell of Young. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to take at-bats away from him. obviously Jackie coming back and having that alignment against right-handed pitching is likely going to be a better matchup for us. But Chris has done an outstanding job in the role that he has here and he’ll continue to be a valuable guy on this team.”

Mookie Betts’ pretty impressive streak of not striking out has ended 04.19.17 at 11:04 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Mookie Betts’ pretty impressive streak of not striking out has ended

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

TORONTO — Wednesday night, Mookie Betts struck out.

It was the first time Sept. 12, 2016 that he had suffered such a fate.

To understand what a feat it was, realize that Minnesota’s Byron Buxton — once deemed the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball — fanned 49 times during that time period. Seven other big leaguers struck out at least 40 times since that last Betts punch-out.

But Wednesday, during the Red Sox’ 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays, it all came to end after 129 plate appearances of not whiffing. One 84 mph slider from Francisco Liriano left the Red Sox’ outfielder 18 plate appearances shy of matching Juan Pierre’s 2004 streak of 147 trips to the plate without a punch-out.

“I don’t think you really realize it when you’re in the midst of it until you’re asked questions daily an things are made of it,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s a special player. He punches out the one time, comes right back with a base hit the next time. We’ll get more very good production out of him.”

During the 31-game stretch, Betts hit .356 with an .860 OPS.

Before the Patriots, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had his own issues with going to the White House 04.19.17 at 8:12 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Before the Patriots, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had his own issues with going to the White House

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — The day the Red Sox visited the White House — April 1, 2014 — to celebrate their world championship from the previous year, Jarrod Saltalmacchia wasn’t available, getting ready for his second game as a Miami Marlin.

“I wasn’t going to miss a game for it, that’s for sure,” Saltalamacchia told WEEI.com prior to his Blue Jays’ game against the Red Sox Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

As it turns out, the former Red Sox’ catcher’s unwillingness to prioritize the trip wasn’t just due to his professional commitments. Much like many of the New England Patriots when it came to choosing not to visit with President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon, Saltalamacchia was in no rush to participate in the Red Sox’ meet-and-greet with then-President, Barack Obama.

Even talking about it three years later, Saltalamacchia wrestles with what might have happened if the opportunity was presented.

When first discussing the Patriots’ boycott, Saltalamacchia said, “Everyone has got their own opinion. I’ll be honest with you, I probably wouldn’t have went because Obama was in. I didn’t agree with a lot of his political beliefs and the way he ran the country. I honestly probably wouldn’t have went.”

But, as he talked through the scenario, the 31 year old admitted the decision to attend would be a tough one. Even now, within the short conversation, it’s clear he remains conflicted.

“Talking to it beforehand, talking about it now, I feel the same way. I still respect my country. I probably would have went just because of that reason alone. I respect my country and it’s an honor to go to our country’s capital,” Saltalamacchia said.

“It would have been tough just because of my thoughts on Obama and his belief system. I feel like he did a lot of things completely opposite of what this country believes in. … I just think he didn’t do a lot for our veterans. That’s my beliefs. I’m sure those those Patriots players aren’t doing what their beliefs are. I understand it and that’s what is so great about our country, the freedom to make that choice.”

Saltalamacchia had already visited the White House in 2008 with his previous club, the Rangers, when Texas’ former owner, and then-President, George Bush, invited the team to the residence, which included a visit to the Oval Office.

But, as the catcher pointed out, that was a different time, and a different President. And for Saltalmacchia, it all made for a choice he really didn’t want to make.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to [go to the White House in 2014], but just because of how close I was with those guys, still am with those guys, I would have went because my boys, my guys were going,” he said. “So I would have gone with them. Despite beliefs and all of that stuff, because of my respect for my country I probably would have went. Regardless of what you think of what you think of the President, he’s the President, so you have to honor that even if you feel he didn’t honor America. It’s tough. I think there’s a lot of military buddies I have in the Seals who don’t believe in a lot of what Obama did, but they still have to do their job and their duty in protecting our country.”

There has obviously been precedence in players and executives choosing not to attend the traditional championship celebration at the the White House, with Theo Epstein’s absence in 2015 and the 2012 decision by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas serving as two notable examples.

And the reasons for the absences, whether made public or not, remain consistent, with the Patriots offering the latest example. It’s a dynamic Saltalamacchia fully understands, and obviously feels strong about.

Taking a stand is clearly something the catcher was, and is, prepared to do.

“Nothing surprises me anymore the way things are going,” he said. “We all have a choice.

“What happened last year, [with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick] kneeling down, to me that upset me more than anything because it’s like, you know what, our brothers and sisters are across seas fighting for our freedom to be able to do something like that and you can’t even respect them enough to stand for our National Anthem. People who die before us and fought for us. Just like in the baseball world, there’s people who fought before us to have the union we have and have the rights we have in this game. Same thing with our country. I think a lot of people lose sight of that. It’s not fair. Yeah, you don’t like what’s going on but you can’t venture one way because of what’s going on now. You have to remember how this country …. It’s not their fault their country is the way it is right now. It’s our own fault. You want to talk about kids, the Millennials, there’s a reason why they are the way they are. Because of the parents. Same thing down the line. We got to do our job as parents to teach our kids the right way.”

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 7: Home runs have become luxury item for this team 04.18.17 at 10:57 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 7: Home runs have become luxury item for this team

Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts celebrate Betts' seventh inning home run. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts celebrate Betts’ seventh inning home run. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — Mookie Betts hit a home run in the seventh inning. It didn’t seem like he needed to.

Such is life with these Red Sox, with Tuesday night’s 8-7 win over the Blue Jays serving as the latest example. Against Marcus Stroman, who had been Toronto’s best starting pitcher, John Farrell’s team managed to kick the Jays’ ace to the curb after just 4 2/3 innings on the way to a 15-hit night. (For a complete recap of the Red Sox’ win, click here.)

“The home runs are coming,” said Hanley Ramirez while walking through the visitors clubhouse prior to the game. To repeat, they should be in no rush.

With Betts’ solo shot, the Red Sox now have a total of seven homers, the fewest in the majors. Yet here they sit at 9-5, having scored four or more runs in nine of their 14 games.

“I don’t know if it’s more cold-weather related or not. You look at the number of hits that we’ve compiled has been I think pretty high,” said Farrell before the game. “I will say this: We don’t as an organization preach home runs. We preach quality at-bats as best as possible. Put your best swing on pitches in areas you’re typically going to handle. In terms of trying to hit home runs, they’re going to come. If you look back to the way we hit last year, through the middle of April or middle of May even, we were probably in the bottom third of home runs hit and still scored runs. That’s a compliment to the type of hitters we have and the depth of our lineup overall.”

He’s right.

Through April last season, the Red Sox owned the most runs in the American League while having hit the third-fewest home runs in Major League Baseball (19).

And this time around, the Red Sox are sitting with the most hits in baseball. And coming into Tuesday, they had the second-best batting average with runners in scoring position (.328).

The win against the struggling Blue Jays might have offered the best definition of what the Red Sox’ offense has become. In the third inning, the Sox used four singles to score three runs and tie the game. Then, in the fifth, back-to-back doubles from Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland after a Betts single drove Stroman from the game, ultimately tagging the starter with six runs on 11 hits.

Maybe the most subtle, yet meaningful, hit of them all came from Pablo Sandoval after Toronto manager John Gibbons replaced Stroman with lefty Aaron Loup.

Sandoval, who had been 0-for-10 against southpaws coming into the at-bat, rifled a single back up the middle to score Moreland to cap the three-run sixth.

“I’ve been working hard with [hitting coaches] Victor Rodriguez and Chili Davis,” Sandoval said. “I’ve been putting in the work together to get in the right position and get my swing back the way I was swinging in spring training. That’s what I’ve been doing. That’s why I’ve been watching videos to compare swings that were working.”

Can the Red Sox keep living life without the long ball? That remains to be seen. The championship teams of 2004, ’07 and ’13 all had greater punch, hitting 25, 27 and 26 home runs, respectively, in April.

For now, even in the homer-friendly Rogers Centre, it’s working out just fine.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Brian Johnson picked up his first major league win, finding a way to navigate through five innings while throwing 97 pitches. The lefty allowed four runs on seven hits.

Why has Brock Holt disappeared? 04.18.17 at 5:49 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Why has Brock Holt disappeared?

Brock Holt

Brock Holt

TORONTO — It would seem that there would be plenty of opportunities.

For one, with the absence of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the outfield, and the Red Sox facing predominantly right-handed starters, Holt would normally be John Farrell’s go-to guy to put in left field during this last week. But during that span there has just been two starts, with Chris Young getting the majority of playing time.

There has also been the occasional opportunity to spell Pablo Sandoval at third base against lefties. Yet, still, Holt is sitting at two starts for the season, one at third and the other in left.

Then came the series opener at Rogers Centre.

With Farrell identifying Tuesday as a logical opportunity for Dustin Pedroia to get some rest, it was Marco Hernandez, not Holt, who the manager turned to. The explanation wasn’t complicated — Hernandez is swinging better than Holt, who entered the game 1-for-11 with five strikeouts.

“You try to keep everyone involved as best possible,” the Red Sox manager said. “The fact is, Marco’s at-bats have probably been a little bit more consistent whether that’s coming out of spring training a little bit more timely, he’s had more opportunities as the season has begun, Brock is still going to play a vital role on this team as we go forward but Marco is in there [Tuesday].”

Hernandez hasn’t exactly torn up the majors since his promotion, hitting .261 with a .565 OPS coming into the three-game set. But coming off his stellar Grapefruit League season, the lefty hitter has shown Farrell enough to want to see a bit more.

“There’s been a lot to like. His at-bats have been overall aggressive,” Farrell said. “I think, with the exception of maybe an occasional at-bat against a left-hander where there’s been a little bit of a tough matchup, I thought he has swung the bat well. He’s played with a lot of athleticism and energy. He’s a good fit to be able to play at multiple positions.”

Red Sox Box Score
Red Sox Schedule
Latest on Twitter
Red Sox Headlines
Red Sox Minor League News
Red Sox Team Leaders
MLB Headlines
Tips & Feedback