Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Although the Red Sox are fairly healthy with their core players, some of their role players are still working their way back from injuries.

Left fielder Blake Swihart continues to go through full baseball activities after suffering a severe ankle sprain back on June 4. Manager John Farrell said there is no set timetable on a rehab assignment, but the fact that he’s going through full baseball activities should mean that will be coming soon

Swihart was batting .258 in 19 major league games this season. Farrell said over the weekend it’s unclear if he will catch at all the rest of the season.

He also added utility infielder Josh Rutledge is in a similar spot as he rehabs from a knee injury, but he might be delayed in coming back a bit because of being on the 60-day disabled list and when he’s eligible to come off of that.

Reliever Junichi Tazawa (shoulder) could return to the Red Sox roster by Friday, as he was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to July 4) last Thursday. The right-hander threw a simulated game on Tuesday and was able to throw all of his pitches.

The news isn’t as good for left fielder Chris Young as he hasn’t yet begun ground-based running as he works his way back from a groin strain, which saw him go on the disabled list on June 24.

Farrell acknowledged the MRI showed a bit more than a Grade 1 strain. He added the team has “to be careful” with his rehab.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— Joe Kelly returning to the Red Sox is more of a roster-based decision, as he’s fully recovered from his groin injury suffered in mid-June with the PawSox. Since making the switch to the bullpen, in five outings (three with Lowell, two with Pawtucket), he’s allowed two runs over seven innings with 11 strikeouts.

He’s thrown three scoreless innings with Pawtucket in his two outings with six strikeouts.

“As far as him moving to the bullpen, that has going as we could have hoped,” Farrell said. “When he’s available to us here, that’s more of a roster and bigger picture situation to get us here.”

Added Farrell: “It’s going to be based on need. Keep in mind, he’s not on a major league rehab. He’s on Pawtucket’s roster. The clock isn’t ticking that a certain date it expires and he has to come back with us. Again, that is a roster decision and probably a bigger picture item to get him back here.

— The Red Sox don’t have the easiest of schedules coming up as they will play 43 games in 44 days and from July 28-Sept. 17, 17 of their 39 games will be on the West Coast. Farrell said the recent acquisitions the team has made, as well as getting players back from injury will put them in a good place.

“I think we’re looking forward to it,” he said. “I think the depth of our bench is really going to be felt. The ability to rotate [Aaron] Hill through there, [Bryce] Brentz. Obviously Michael Martinez has yet to get on the field with any regularity of importance, but his availability to us is going to come into play. … Again, we’re relatively in a good place physically from a health standpoint. How we balance that out with David [Ortiz] and others, I think we’re set up with a balanced roster to handle these set of games.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Nick Longhi

Nick Longhi

As sports fans, almost all of us fantasize of being a member of our favorite team. Red Sox fans imagine themselves hitting the go-ahead run over the Green Monster, Celtics fans visualize hitting the game-winning 3-pointer on the parquet floor, and so on. Of course, for most of us those dreams are far-fetched.

So we’re left to wonder; what does it feel like to get the chance to become a star for the team we grew up idolizing?

For an answer to that question, look no further than High-A Salem first baseman Nick Longhi, a Springfield native and lifelong Red Sox fan. Longhi, 20, may have moved to Florida as an infant, but he had no problem staying loyal to the stars of Fenway Park. He even remembers crying himself to sleep back in 2003 after Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the ALCS.

“It really wasn’t that difficult for me [to stay a Red Sox fan] because of the fact that I was brought up in that environment with my dad loving all Boston sports,” Longhi said. “And that’s something that we took an interest in. We bonded through sports my whole childhood and my whole life. Obviously, as a kid, that’s the team your dad roots for, that’s who you want to win, too.”

Not only has Longhi dreamed of becoming a Boston legend, he is moving closer and closer to his goal every day. Through Monday, Boston’s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com is slashing .290/.360/.398 in 84 games. His 56 RBIs are sixth best in the Carolina League, and he ranks second among current Salem batters in batting average. He’s collected 24 multi-hit games this year and continues to enhance his game after batting .330 with Lowell in 2014 and notching 62 RBIs in 115 games with Greenville last season.

Although Longhi’s home run numbers are down — he currently has two home runs after totaling seven last year — Salem manager Joe Oliver believes the drop-off is normal.

“I think his power will eventually evolve,” Oliver said. “Playing at Salem typically knocks down a lot of guys power numbers just because they’re playing so big. This hasn’t been a good season for his home runs, but he’s definitely showing clutch hitting, driving in quite a few runs.”

Drafted by the Red Sox in 2013, Longhi now has been a member of the Red Sox organization for four years, working his way up from the Gulf Coast League to the Carolina League. Longhi currently is thriving, but he came dangerously close to passing by an opportunity most of us can only dream about.

Longhi started drawing attention from scouts while in high school in Venice, Florida (about an hour north of the Red Sox’ spring training home in Fort Myers). He was named an All-American his senior year at Venice High, and Baseball America named Longhi the best pure hitter and No. 46 overall prospect of the 2013 MLB draft.

However, the college offers came flooding in, 72 in total, and Longhi committed to playing at LSU. Having committed to a college, Longhi saw his draft stock plummet, and the first two days of the 2013 MLB draft passed by without him being selected.

Even before the second day of the draft ended, Longhi had his mind made up that he would spend the next season playing college ball with the Tigers. He said he even quit paying attention to the draft completely after the fifth round.

By the time the third day of the draft rolled around, Longhi already was working on transitioning to the college level.

“I was actually in the cage, hitting with a metal bat, getting ready to go to LSU because I was preparing for it,” Longhi said. “I was telling myself that’s where I was going.”

With the draft entering the 30th round, it seemed certain that Longhi would forgo turning pro. That is, until he found out which team took a chance on him with the 893rd overall pick.

“One of my friends actually called me and said, ‘Congratulations, the Red Sox just drafted you in the 30th round,’ ” Longhi said. “I was a little upset, I just said thanks and hung up my phone.”

Longhi never planned to sign with a team for the minimum, but the Red Sox offered him a $440,000 signing bonus. He readily admits that if it was any other team, he would have skipped out on the opportunity. But the chance to play for his favorite team was too good to pass up. He signed with Boston 24 hours after being offered and was the fourth-highest-paid Sox prospect that season.

Not many 30th-round selections are expected to break through to the major league level. But Longhi, a top prospect talent who has shown improvement every year, continues to inch toward doing exactly that.

“I feel like every athlete has to play for something, for me it’s that point of pride,” Longhi said. “I use it as motivation every time I go to the field, every time I go to the cage, to make it to the big leagues and kind of defy the odds. Everybody sees a 30th-round label and they go, ‘Oh, not too much usually comes out of there.’ I just try to go there and, like I said, just kind of defy that label and just put that label to sleep.”

Throughout his four years in the Red Sox organization, Longhi has strived to make a name for himself and defy those odds. He hopes to join the likes of Raul Ibanez and Mark Buehrle, who were drafted late and went on to successful major league careers. To increase his chances of reaching the big leagues, Longhi has worked tirelessly on his defense, an area of his game that had to be upgraded.

To make things more challenging, Longhi was called upon to make the switch from outfielder to first baseman, a position that can take time getting used to. Yet he now considers his defense an important aspect of his game; he’s started 66 games at first this season, averaging a .998 fielding percentage on the corner. Longhi credits his coaches and coordinators for the smooth transition.

“They’ve been working with me hard on it and so there’s really no way that I couldn’t have improved on defense,” Longhi said. “I’m very pleased and very lucky and fortunate that they’ve put in the work that they have with me in order to make me a better defender and make me what I think is a plus defender.”

Oliver, who coached Longhi during his time with the Spinners two years ago, agrees that the first baseman has become much more reliable on the field.

“I’ve seen huge strides and improvement at his play at first base,” Oliver said. “He’s become a very good first baseman fielding over there, he’s saved some errors on the middle infielder with his ability to take over there.”

With the vast improvements he’s made on the defensive end, Longhi has brought himself closer to making Fenway Park his home field. In 2014 he was fortunate enough to get to play in the Futures at Fenway, an event where minor league affiliates of the Red Sox get to play at the historic ballpark. Longhi said that during batting practice he hit a couple of balls over the Green Monster, something he’s likely imagined himself doing for a long time.

“For me, it was an incredible feeling,” Longhi said. “It was just such a cool feeling to think about all the guys that have been there before me and done that, even the guys that are currently there doing that. It was just so cool to think about, the coolest part is that could be my future home where I play every day. That’s the reason you come to the field every day and work hard because that’s where you want to end up.”

He’s gotten a feel for Fenway Park. He’s getting better and better with each passing year. He’s a top prospect and one of the strongest hitters in the Red Sox farm system. One wonders how close Longhi is to getting his shot to live out his dream.

Until he gets the chance, Longhi said he just has to continue putting the work in and letting the chips fall where they may.

“Whenever the time is, the time is,” Longhi said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be. Obviously, as a player you want to be there yesterday. That’s why you just come to the field and work hard every day, because you want to get there as soon as possible.”

For now, Longhi will have to settle for dreaming of playing for the Red Sox, just like he did as a kid.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (50-46): L, 7-5, at Toledo (Tigers)

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (50-46): L, 7-5, at Toledo (Tigers)

— The PawSox fell to Toledo despite totaling 13 hits, including four from Ryan LaMarre. The 27-year-old had three doubles in the game, the most two-baggers in a game from a Pawtucket batter in the last two years. He also had an RBI and two runs scored.

LaMarre, who is averaging .517 in his last eight games, also has safely reached base in the past 25 games. He is slashing .339/.410/.508 in 49 games with Pawtucket. His batting average leads the team.

— Right-hander William Cuevas received the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits, both season highs, in six innings. He did strike out five without walking a single batter. Monday’s game was the first loss for Cuevas since June 14. The 25-year-old is 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He leads all Pawtucket pitchers in innings pitched (96 2/3).

— Infielder Mike Miller went 3-for-4 with a walk. He now has hit safely in his last four games and in eight of his last 10. The 26-year-old is batting .257/.320/.311 in 61 games with both Pawtucket and Portland.

— Chris Dominguez drilled a solo home run in the third inning to score the game’s first run. It was his eighth homer of the season, good for second best on the team. Dominguez, 29, is averaging .371 in his last 10 outings and is hitting .243/.271/.446 this season.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (35-59): W, 11-4, at Trenton (Yankees)

— Top prospect Yoan Moncada was the star, blasting two home runs in a game for the first time in his young career. He hit a solo homer in the seventh inning, then hit a bomb in the eighth inning to drive in three runs. Boston’s No.1 prospect at MLB.com now has seven home runs with the Sea Dogs and 11 overall.

Moncada, 21, has hit safely in nine of his previous 10 games. He is averaging .313/.424/.545 in 82 total minor league games, and his slugging percentage (.683) with Portland leads the team.

— Jalen Beeks earned his first win with Portland, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings while fanning four. The six innings were a season high for the 23-year-old. Boston’s No.28 prospect at MLB.com is 1-2 with a 5.18 ERA in five Double-A starts, and he is 5-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 18 minor league outings.

— Mauricio Dubon, Boston’s No. 11 prospect at MLB.com, finished the game 3-for-5 with two runs. He scored from third base on a wild pitch in the opening frame. It is the third game in his last seven that Dubon collected three hits. The 22-year-old is slashing .306/.378/.391 in 83 total minor league games this season.

— Aneury Tavarez also tallied three hits in the game, one of them being a triple, his fifth of the season. The 24-year-old is batting .310/.362/.448 in 67 contests with Portland, and he leads all Sea Dogs in stolen bases (9) and triples (5).

Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (55-38): L, 7-2, vs. Potomac (Nationals)

— Despite being handed the loss, Michael Kopech pitched well, letting up one earned run on three hits in five innings. The 20-year-old struck out a career-high nine batters, striking out the side in the first and third frames. The one earned run was the first allowed by Kopech. In three starts with Salem, he is 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He is Boston’s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com and top pitching prospect.

— Danny Mars went 3-for-4, pushing his hitting streak to six games. He is 13-for-24 during that stretch, and the 22-year-old is hitting .268/.335/.359 in 83 games with Salem.

— Reliever Bobby Poyner struggled in relief of Kopech, surrendering four runs on seven hits in two innings. Poyner, 23, has allowed 11 runs in his last eight innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 27 games.

— Infielder Reed Gragnani hit his first home run of the year in the ninth inning to put Salem on the board. Gragnani, 25, has hit safely in his last five games. He is averaging .236/.317/.364 since coming back from a rehab assignment on June 28.

Enmanuel De Jesus

Enmanuel De Jesus

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (48-45): L, 9-6, vs. Hagerstown (Nationals)

— Left-hander Enmanuel De Jesus let up five runs on seven hits in four innings to get the loss. He gave up three runs in the fourth inning, which led to him being pulled. De Jesus, who was called up to Greenville from Lowell on July 11, is 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA in six total minor league outing.

— All six of Greenville’s runs came from the long ball, as Kyri Washington, Trenton Kemp, and Mitchell Gunsolus all hit two-run home runs. Washington hit his 13th homer of the year in the first inning to put the Drive up 2-1, and Kemp pushed the Greenville lead to three with his blast in the second inning. Gunsolus then hit his ninth long ball of the season in the sixth inning for the final runs of the game.

Washington, 22, and Gunsolus, 23, are on cold streaks, averaging .135 and .194, respectively, in their last 10 games. For the season, Washington, Boston’s No. 30 prospect at MLB.com, is slashing .264/.324/.520 in 66 games. Gunsolus is batting .224/.331/.370 in 72 games with both Greenville and Salem.

The 20-year-old Kemp has eight RBIs in his previous eight games and is batting .248 with the Drive.

Chris Madera

Chris Madera

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (19-12): W, 9-2, vs. State College (Cardinals)

— Chris Madera gave Lowell the lead in the third inning in a big way, driving the ball over center field for a grand slam, the first of the season for the Spinners. It was Madera’s second home run of the year, and he finished 1-for-3 with two runs and a walk. Madera, 23, is hitting .250/.335/.339 in 19 games with Lowell.

— Daniel Gonzalez pitched well for the Spinners, allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings while fanning five. He came into the game having not let up a run in three consecutive appearances. The 20-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 14 minor league outings. His 36 innings lead all Lowell pitchers.

— Jerry Downs went a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and one run scored. It was the 22-year-old’s first multi-hit game. Downs is batting .234/.342/.297 in 19 games with the Spinners.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound on Tuesday to kick off a two-game series against the Giants. He will be opposed by former Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy.

Porcello has been quietly efficient for the Red Sox, recording an 11-2 record with a 3.66 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His 11 wins are fourth best in the American League, and he has yet to lose a start at Fenway this season. He has won his last three starts, with his most recent victory coming against Tampa Bay on July 9. The right-hander gave up just one run on six hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none in a 4-1 Red Sox win.

“There’s no question he feels comfortable on the mound here,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His sinker works well here, and more than anything, his walk rate is at a career low. He’s doing a great job at limiting the overall baserunners.”

In three career starts vs. the Giants, Porcello is 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA. His last game against San Francisco was on June 7 of this season, when he let up three runs on five hits in six innings while striking out six in a 5-3 Red Sox win.

Peavy enters Tuesday’s game with a 5-7 record, 5.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The 2007 Cy Young winner has lost just once in his previous six starts, last receiving no-decision against the Diamondbacks on July 9. Peavy gave up two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, fanning three and walking one in a 4-2 win over Arizona. He also made an impressive no-look catch of a ball thrown to him by catcher Buster Posey.

Peavy, whom the Red Sox acquired during the 2013 season and traded to San Francisco a year later, has faced Boston three times in his 14-year career, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He last pitched against the Red Sox on April 28, 2012, as a member of the White Sox. He threw a complete game but failed to receive a decision, letting up one run on four hits while fanning seven.

Giants vs. Porcello (RHP)

Denard Span (32 plate appearances): .375 AVG/.400 OBP/.375 SLG, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Conor Gillaspie (24): .417/.417/.583, 1 double, 1 home run, 6 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Gregor Blanco (13): .305/.357/.538, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Ramiro Pena (7): .143/.143/.143, 1 strikeout

Brandon Crawford (6): .167/.286/.167, 3 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Angel Pagan is 3-for-5 with 1 double and 2 RBIs.

Joe Panik is 2-for-5 with 1 RBI.

Matt Duffy is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Brandon Belt is 1-for-3.

Red Sox vs. Peavy (RHP)

Chris Young (25 plate appearances): .160 AVG/.222 OBP/.360 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts

Hanley Ramirez (22): .182/.217/.227, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

David Ortiz (10): .300/.300/.300, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Josh Rutledge (7): .286/.286/.286, 3 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (7): .143/.143/.143, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Aaron Hill (7): .143/.143/.143, 4 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-3.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

Being just 18 years old and in his first professional season, Anderson Espinoza was scared.

The right-hander had just been traded from the Red Sox to the Padres in exchange for All-Star pitcher Drew Pomeranz. All he had known professionally was the Red Sox and now he was on the other side of the country.

Anderson Espinoza

Anderson Espinoza

Being just 18 years old and in his first professional season, Anderson Espinoza was scared.

The right-hander had just been traded from the Red Sox to the Padres in exchange for All-Star pitcher Drew Pomeranz. All he had known professionally was the Red Sox and now he was on the other side of the country.

But, after fully realizing what happened, Espinoza is now taking the trade as a positive.

“It was scary because I didn’t know what was going on after I heard that,” Espinoza told reporters in Fort Wayne, Indiana through a translator, including Jessica Starbard with WANE. “What is going to happen to me now? After talking to my agent and my family and they said every change is for you to be better. It’s going to be better for your life and your career so I started feeling a little bit better with that and I started to get happy because I know this trade is going to be big for me and give me a big chance to be in the big leagues.”

Espinoza is now with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Class-A affiliate of the Padres. He will make his Padres debut on Wednesday night. With Single-A Greenville this year, Espinoza was 5-8 with a 4.38 ERA, while totaling 72 strikeouts in 76 innings. He was limited to 85-90 pitches per outing.

At just 18 years old, he was the Red Sox’ best pitching prospect and now is the best prospect in the Padres system according to Baseball America.

“I don’t think too much about that,” he said. “I just go out there and compete. I don’t read much like Instagram, Twitter, whatever they say about me. I know I am good. I am just happy to know that I am very good. Whenever I pitch I don’t think about it.”

Ironically, Pomeranz will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday night as well.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Angels claimed infielder Sean Coyle on waivers from the Red Sox on Monday, hoping perhaps lightning can strike again 16 years later.

Sean Coyle

Sean Coyle

The Angels claimed infielder Sean Coyle on waivers from the Red Sox on Monday, hoping perhaps lightning can strike again 16 years later.

In 2000, the Red Sox placed infielder David Eckstein on waivers to add WEEI’s own Lou Merloni to the roster. The Angels scooped up the diminutive Eckstein, and a year later he finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting before embarking on a successful 10-year career that included two All-Star Games with the Cardinals and two World Series titles — one with the Angels in 2002 and another with the Cards that saw Eckstein named World Series MVP in 2006.

Listed at just 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, Eckstein overcame size limitations to carve out a nice career. Coyle hopes to do the same. Generously listed at 5-8, 175, Coyle broke out at Double-A Portland in 2014, mashing 16 homers and compiling an .883 OPS.

He has struggled since, however, and hit just .125 at Triple-A Pawtucket this year. The 24-year-old was designated for assignment last week to make room for utilityman Michal Martinez on the 40-man roster.

The odds of Coyle’s career following in the footsteps of Eckstein’s may be low, but the Angels felt he was a worthy gamble to stash at Triple-A, particularly since they lack middle infield depth.

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network was the first to report the move.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Carson Fullmer pitched for the White Sox Sunday. Why should you care?

Well, Fulmer was taken exactly one spot behind where the Red Sox selected Andrew Benintendi in the 2015 draft. This doesn’t mean by any means the Sox outfield prospect should immediately be rushed to the majors to keep pace, but it is another reminder that Benintendi’s time might not be far away.

Right now, Benintendi is doing his thing in Double-A Portland. After a slow start, he has seen his batting average and OPS climb to .277 and .819, respectively. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski already suggested last month every aspect of the 22-year-old’s game is major league ready with the exception of his offense.

And now, with the jump in offensive acumen, the front office’s acceptance for Benintendi to help at the major league level might be growing.

“He’s making steady progress in Double-A,” said Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen. ” The consistency of his at-bats day in and day out have gotten better and better and better. There’s usually a transition to every level. Again, that’s why you’re not banking on that performance. You’re not counting on offensive performance, but you’re hoping they can do those other things.”

As we sit here, there wouldn’t seem to be an overriding need for outfield help at the major league level, particularly with Brock Holt coming back to serve as the left-handed-hitting complement in left field. And it appears as though Blake Swihart might be on the verge of making some rehab assignment appearances while returning from his ankle injury.

But there’s still a ways to go.

Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007. Xander Bogaerts six years later. Few thought at this time of year either would be playing pivotal roles in the Red Sox’ October runs, but there they were.

Ellsbury didn’t find his way onto the big league roster back in ’07 for more than a few days until September call-ups in ’07, while Bogaerts’ first introduction to the bigs came on Aug. 20, 2013. By the time the World Series came around in each of those seasons, both players found themselves as starters.

In ’07, Ellsbury started his season with 17 games at Double-A before playing 87 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Bogaerts began 2013 by playing in 56 games with Portland before his 60-game stint in Triple-A

“Once we send him to Triple A you’re not always saying he’s going to be a completely finished product by the time he has to go to the major leagues,” said Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen. “You’re hoping you’ve built in enough depth that you’re not forced into a decision, but you have to have some understanding that it could end up that way. So you have to be comfortable with that when you send a guy to Triple-A.

“You don’t assume, especially on the offensive side, there is going to be a contribution. You want them to be able to go up and pick up the ball, run the bases very well and contribute any way. You’re not banking on any time of offensive performance. And most of our lineups that we’ve had, and this one would be the same way, it’s not like this player would have to carry an offensive load. You want them to be a productive hitter, a productive member of the lineup, but more than anything else you want them to play really good defense, be able to run the bases and do what the manager and the team needs them to do to contribute. So those are the bigger factors. Everybody focuses on the offense because they want the players to come up and hit right away, but that’s not usually the way it works.”

Then there is the notion that Triple-A wouldn’t be needed, a scenario Dombrowski recently hinted at. It’s a progression the Red Sox have executed before when calling up outfielder Josh Reddick at the end of July in 2009, while having also allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the 2013 season in the majors without any Triple-A experience.

While the players making such a move can have immediate success due to the lack of scouting reports, or an existence at the bottom of the batting order, there is also the flip-side. The ability for the player to overcome the eventual adversity they will face when jumping two levels is always a concern.

“That’s a risk you’re taking,” Hazen said. “If they’re good enough players they will figure it out. You’re never going to be 100 percent certain.”

The case for Benintendi being called upon to contribute during the pennant drive (and possibly beyond) hinges on injuries to Holt and/or Swihart, or one of the infielders, which would necessitate Holt moving into more of a utility role. Or perhaps the production at the position from the left side dips so dramatically, like it did when the doors opened for Ellsbury and Bogaerts, Benintendi is deemed the club’s best option.

There is also a scenario that could put Benintendi’s Double-A teammate, Yoan Moncada, in the mix for meaningful big league action when it counts the most. Except the case for the second baseman is slightly different than his Sea Dog brethren.

One of the staples for recent Red Sox postseason teams is to carry a designated pinch-runner. Consider it the Dave Roberts/Quintin Berry spot. Right now, Michael Martinez would fill that role, but considering he has just four stolen bases in his 237 big league games, there would seemingly be a need for an upgrade.

In 162 minor league games, Moncada has stole 92 bases in 104 chances. That would seem to be a pretty lethal weapon come the postseason.

With crunch-time on the Red Sox’ doorstep, and a legitimate pennant race upon us, it’s all something certainly to think about.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford