Andrew Benintendi made his left field debut Friday night. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Andrew Benintendi made his left field debut Friday night. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

For the first time in his professional career Andrew Benintendi started in left field Friday night. While this may seem like just a minor thing, it’s setting the stage for something bigger.

Benintendi, the Red Sox’ No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft, had been a center fielder his whole life, but with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field with the Red Sox, that position was blocked. The Red Sox clearly believe in him and want to put him in the best position to succeed, thus the need for the move.

It should be noted, Benintendi likely won’t be playing left field every day, but will be getting early work done there and taking fly balls during batting practice as well.

“Aware of position changes, aware of the potential estimated timeline of arrival,” manager John Farrell said. “Again, the player is going to determine when he is most ready. As we’ve seen with a number of guys, we haven’t been hesitant to move them around on the field, change positions. With Andrew going to left, we are looking down the road a little ways. When that day comes that he’s a left fielder here in Boston, remains to be seen, but the way he’s swung the bat, the way he’s advanced this year, you start to prepare for that eventual day.”

Benintendi is batting .277 in 54 games with the Sea Dogs, which comes after hitting .341 in 34 games with High-A Salem to start the year.

It certainly isn’t out of the question for him to play in Boston this year, as two current prominent members of the team — Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts — played in Double-A the same year they made their professional debuts.

Betts’ case is particularly worth examining as he too changed positions — second base to outfield — while in Double-A. Betts played center field for the first time 37 games into his Double-A career, while it took Benintendi 54 games to play left field for the first time. Then, 15 games later Betts was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket and then after 23 games there, he was promoted to the big league club.

Bogaerts played 56 games in Portland during the 2013 season before 60 games in Pawtucket prior to his eventual big league debut.

With the way Benintendi has been playing, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him follow Betts’ path. This would have him being promoted to Pawtucket in a few weeks and then on the major league roster when rosters expand in September.

It’s worth noting, if Benintendi plays in the majors this season he would be the first player since at least 2009 (when the Salem affiliate started) to appear in the big leagues after starting the season with High-A Salem.

Given the Red Sox’ situation in left field and the number of injuries — Blake Swhiart and Chris Young — depending on their returns, Benintendi could potentially be needed. Brock Holt has assumed the every day position there for now, which drew the praise of Farrell.

“I’m more than happy to have Brock in left field,” said Farrell. “We don’t miss out on his versatility with Michael Martinez [who can play infield and outfield], so we’re covered in terms of versatility and being able to make in-game decisions or moves, depending on what’s needed.

“The way Brock has adapted to left field, the way he plays it in here in Fenway in particular, in addition to the quality at-bats … it speaks volumes about the record (29-11) we have [when he’s in the starting lineup]. That’s not just because of him, but there’s something to it.”

But with that being said, ideally the Red Sox would have Holt in the super utility role they envisioned at the beginning of the year, especially with the tough travel schedule coming up and the chance to give certain players days off, so this could set the stage for Benintendi to be the Red Sox’ left fielder.

It now seems even more clear that the Red Sox would like a Benintendi-Bradley-Betts outfield for the future and that future could be as soon as this year.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Even though the Red Sox had just two hits through the first eight innings, it looked like the Red Sox had the Twins right where they wanted them in the ninth.

After Kyle Gibson was pulled after 96 pitches, Brandon Kinzler entered for the ninth with the Red Sox trailing 2-1.

David Ortiz grounded into a double play in the 9th inning Friday night. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz grounded into a double play in the 9th inning Friday night. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Even though the Red Sox had just two hits through the first eight innings, it looked like the Red Sox had the Twins right where they wanted them in the ninth.

After Kyle Gibson was pulled after 96 pitches, Brandon Kinzler entered for the ninth with the Red Sox trailing 2-1.

They loaded the bases with no outs and had David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez due up next. The stage was set for another magical Ortiz moment, but it didn’t go as the Red Sox planned, or expected.

Ortiz grounded into a 4-2-3 double play and Ramirez lined out to right field to end the game with the tying and game-winning runs in scoring position.

“Loved our chances,” manager John Farrell said afterwards. “Loved the chance to tack on some runs in the first inning as well. Stage was set, golden opportunity. David rolled into a ground ball double play and then the line out to finish it. We had quality at-bats in the ninth inning. Up until that point Gibson was very good. Changed speeds, good sinker. Unable to really mount any threat through the first eight innings.”

Ortiz, who has been on fire of late, said he was looking to end the game with one swing.

“Looking for a home run right there,” he said. “The pitcher made good pitches. That’s the name of the game. Made a good pitch, got himself out of the situation.”

Added Ortiz: “Just another game man, you know. Pitcher, he tried to get us out and that’s what they are there for. The game wouldn’t be that easy you know. It wouldn’t be the way it is. They know how to get hitters out. They know how to get stuff done. It’s not always gonna work out our way. It’s not always gonna work their way too. That’s what they’re there for. I let it go.”

The Red Sox finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and snapped a seven-game home winning streak.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

It doesn’t appear Mookie Betts’ knee injury is too serious.

The right fielder was removed from Friday’s 2-1 loss against the Twins with right knee soreness. Manager John Farrell said it was as a precaution and he’s day-to-day. There’s even the possibility he is back in the lineup as early as Saturday.

“He got a little soreness, a little stiffness as the game went on,” Farrell said. “Felt like he couldn’t run as normal. Precautionarily we got him off his feet. We’ll check him when he comes in tomorrow to see if he’s going to be available. Right now, day-to-day.”

It was thought perhaps Betts injured the knee on a play in the fourth inning when he threw out Brian Dozier at second base on a shallow single to right where he made the throw on the run, but Farrell said it wasn’t because of one particular play and he’s been dealing with something minor since the All-Star break.

“This isn’t the result of a slide or any one event,” he said. “He just felt like there was some soreness starting to come on. At the time that was the decision made.”

Added Farrell on if it’s been lingering: “A little bit. I wouldn’t say it was to the point of a no-go. This is something that there’s been some treatment on occasion, but not to the point where he needs X number of days to get past this.”

Betts has started in 94 of the 95 games so far this season and homered to lead off the bottom of the first inning for the second time in as many nights on Friday. It’s the second time this season he’s led off the first inning with home runs on two straight days and has five total on the year.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Apparently the Red Sox offense can’t be red-hot every night.

Coming into the game batting .316 as a team in the month of July, the Red Sox managed just four hits as a team in their 2-1 loss to the Twins Friday night at Fenway Park.

Eduardo Rodriguez was solid for the second straight start. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez was solid for the second straight start. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Apparently the Red Sox offense can’t be red-hot every night.

Coming into the game batting .316 as a team in the month of July, the Red Sox managed just four hits as a team in their 2-1 loss to the Twins Friday night at Fenway Park.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson was very effective as the Red Sox didn’t record a hit after the first inning against him, spanning 24 batters with a walk and an error mixed in. Gibson went eight innings allowing just one run on 96 pitches.

The Red Sox threatened in the ninth with the bases loaded with no outs against Brandon Kinzler, but David Ortiz hit into a double play and Hanley Ramirez left the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

Eduardo Rodriguez was solid for the second straight outing despite the loss.

The left-hander went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out eight, which were a season-high. He was pulled from the game with one out in the sixth at 95 pitches, suggesting perhaps he was on a pitch count.

Rodriguez was pulled after allowing a one-out walk in the sixth and was replaced by Heath Hembree. Hembree allowed a walk and a double to the only two batters he faced, which allowed the go-ahead run to score as the game was tied at one when he entered.

The first run of the game came in the second inning when Rodriguez allowed a solo homer to Brian Dozier.

For the second time in as many nights, Mookie Betts led the bottom of the first inning off with a homer. Friday it was on the second pitch after Thursday it was on the first pitch. It was his 20th home run of the season.

It was Betts’ fifth lead off homer of the season, but it wasn’t all good news as he left the game in the fifth inning with right knee soreness. Nothing stood out as to how the injury occurred, but perhaps in the fourth inning when he charged a bloop single and threw out Dozier at second base trying to extend it into a double.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have homered in 13 straight games, their second-longest streak of the season.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Hembree has struggled in his last two outings as he allowed three hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning against the Giants on Wednesday. With Joe Kelly knocking on the door in Pawtucket, it’s possible a move could be made soon.

— Gibson shut the Red Sox bats down as they couldn’t get anything going after the first. He threw strikes and the Red Sox couldn’t figure him out all night long.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Prior to leaving with the injury, Betts went 1-for-2. He’s been on fire in the month of July as he leads the majors with 28 hits in the month. He’s batting .438 on the homestand.

— Betts’ replacement, Michael Martinez, made two great catches in right field. One to end the sixth when he came in on a ball in foul territory, then the first out of the eighth when he made a diving catch to rob Robbie Grossman of a hit.

— Junichi Tazawa threw a scoreless eighth inning — his first appearance since July 3 as he came off the disabled list prior to the game.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It doesn’t appear Mookie Betts’ knee injury is too serious.

The right fielder was removed from Friday’s 2-1 loss against the Twins with right knee soreness. Manager John Farrell said it was as a precaution and he’s day-to-day. There’s even the possibility he is back in the lineup as early as Saturday.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

The last thing the Red Sox need is another injury to an outfielder, especially an All-Star outfielder.

Right fielder Mookie Betts left Friday night’s game with right knee soreness prior to the top of the fifth inning with the game tied at one. He’s day-to-day.

Betts was replaced by utility infielder/outfielder Michael Martinez.

It isn’t exactly clear when the injury occurred, but may have happened on a play in the fourth inning when he charged in on a bloop Brian Dozier single and threw him out at second base. It appeared it was a bit of an awkward throw with him being on the run.

Betts led the bottom of the first off with a home run for the second straight day. It was his 20th homer of the year.

He’s started 94 of the 95 games this season.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The biggest news as it relates to the Red Sox organization on Friday didn’t take place at Fenway Park, it took place in Double-A Portland.

Highly-touted prospect Andrew Benintendi will be making his first professional start in left field, shifting over from his natural position of center field.

Manager John Farrell was aware of the change.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

The biggest news as it relates to the Red Sox organization on Friday didn’t take place at Fenway Park, it took place in Double-A Portland.

Highly-touted prospect Andrew Benintendi will be making his first professional start in left field, shifting over from his natural position of center field.

Manager John Farrell was aware of the change.

“Aware of position changes, aware of the potential estimated timeline of arrival,” Farrell said. “Again, the player is going to determine when he is most ready. As we’ve seen with a number of guys, we haven’t been hesitant to move them around on the field, change positions. With Andrew going to left, we are looking down the road a little ways. When that day comes that he’s a left fielder here in Boston, remains to be seen, but the way he’s swung the bat, the way he’s advanced this year, you start to prepare for that eventual day.”

It seems like it will be a gradual shift as per source, he’s not expected to play there every day, but will get early work and reps during batting practice there. It also seems likely a potential promotion to Triple-A could come in the coming weeks.

The 2015 first-round pick, No. 7 overall out of the University of Arkansas is batting .277 with six home runs and 31 RBIs over 54 games in Double-A. He started the year in High-A Salem, but was promoted after batting .341 in 34 games.

Farrell added the shift to left field had nothing to do with Blake Swihart’s recent setback in his ankle rehab.

It seems likely the Red Sox are preparing for September when the rosters expand and also looking towards the future as Benintendi is blocked in center field with Jackie Bradley Jr., but left field is up for grabs.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable