Could Yoan Moncada help the Red Sox off the bench this season? (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)
One of the features of the Red Sox’ September and October rosters in recent years has been having a player who can come off the bench and be a base stealing threat.
In 2004 that was Dave Roberts and in 2013 it was Quintin Berry.
Manager John Farrell said the team is still looking for that player for this season.
“Yeah, and we’ve been on the look out for that,” he said. “Whether it’s external or someone internally that would serve that role that remains to be seen, but yeah, we’ve had discussions about that particular and specific role. Again, I don’t know who that name is going to be to fill that spot.”
One player internally who could fill that role is Yoan Moncada.
The 21-year-old has 44 stolen bases in 56 attempts this season — the most in the entire Red Sox organization. Also, last year he had 49 stolen bases in 52 attempts. Most of the talk around Moncada has been his recent transition to third base in Double-A, but Farrell did acknowledge the team has discussed calling him up once rosters expand, but haven’t made a final decision.
“I would say the talk around Yoan has been about moving obviously to third base,” Farrell said. “He’s just getting some reps at that position. Whether or not he comes up in a role that would be either mixed in, he’s obviously been much better as a left-handed hitter this year, if he’s mixed in that capacity. Does he give you a base stealing threat coming off the bench is a possibility. Those are the types of things we’ve talked about. Whether or not he comes up here is yet to be determined.
“We know he’s an exciting young player with tremendous talents. Whether that time is 2016 or sometime after, that’s yet to be determined.”
It’s also worth noting Berry is currently a free agent. In order for him to be eligible for the postseason, he would need to be signed by Aug. 31.
According to the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia will no be available for Sunday night’s game, with the second baseman having to attend to a family matter. It is unknown whether or not Pedroia will be available for Monday night’s game against the Rays.
Pedroia has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, having collected hits in 11 consecutive at-bats — one shy of the major league record — before grounding out to second in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals Saturday night.
In his last three home games, Pedroia has 13 hits, having become the first player since 1913 to notch four or more hits in three straight Fenway Park contests.
The Boston Herald was first to report Pedroia’s absence.
In Sunday night’s series finale at Fenway, the Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound while the Royals will dispatch right-hander Yordano Ventura.
Rodriguez is 2-5 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.398 WHIP in 13 starts. On Tuesday, Rodriguez threw a three-inning simulated game, as he works his way back from a hamstring injury suffered on Aug. 16. Part of Rodriguez’s rehab also has been making sure he is confident pitching despite suffering a injury.
“The thing is I had that experience before with my knee. I went out there and was just thinking about my knee and when I threw the ball, remember what happened here? I gave up nine runs because I was thinking of my knee and every pitch was right down the middle,” he said Monday. “I don’t want to think about it. Because I had that experience before with my knee.
“I want to feel 100 percent. And I don’t want to think about it. Like I do right now, now I’m not thinking about my knee and I just throw the ball so I can get 100 percent and I’m not thinking about it.”
Rodriguez missed his last start on Sunday, but the last time he was on a mound, Aug. 16 against the Orioles, he pitched four innings of no-hit baseball before leaving the game with the hamstring injury.
In two starts against the Royals, Rodriguez is 1-0 with 2.19 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP. The last time the 23-year-old lefty pitched against the Royals was in August of last season. In that start, Rodriguez threw six innings, allowing four runs (two earned), seven hits and no walks with one strikeout.
Ventura is 9-9 in 25 starts with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP. In Ventura’s last start on Tuesday, he pitched six scoreless innings, allowing six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Marlins. It was 25-year-old’s ninth straight start giving up three runs or fewer.
The right-hander is 2-2 in four starts against the Red Sox with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.609 WHIP. His last start against Boston was in May. In that outing, Ventura went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Royals vs. Rodriguez (LHP)
Lorenzo Cain is 0-for-6.
Alcides Escobar is 1-for-3 with 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk and 1 strikeout.
Here’s a look a the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (69-64): L, 7-2, at Syracuse (Nationals)
— Catcher Dan Butler had half of his team’s hits, going 4-for-4 with a double. The 29-year-old bumped his average 16 points to .305 in 43 games with the PawSox.
— Center fielder Ryan LaMarre and first baseman Chris Marrero had Pawtucket’s other hits, as they both went 2-for-4. LaMarre hit a solo home run in the third inning, his 10th of the season.
— Left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched four innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits (three home runs) with two strikeouts. He was touched up for five runs in the fourth. Right-hander Chandler Shepherd relieved and pitched three innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and a walk with four strikeouts. Lefty Robby Scott pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (53-77): L, 4-2 in 15 innings, vs. Trenton (Yankees)
— Left fielder Rainel Rosario went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, but no other Sea Dog had more than one hit in the 15-inning loss. Rosario, a 27-year-old from the Dominican Republic, is batting .266/.319/.347 in 94 games with Portland this season.
— Third baseman Yoan Moncada went 1-for-4 and reached base two more times via walks. Catcher Ryan Hanigan drove in Portland’s other run on a ground out.
— Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz pitched the first five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Ty Buttrey, Williams Jerez and Ben Taylor then combined for seven innings of shutout ball, allowing only one hit between them (Jerez). Taylor Grover pitched the final three innings, allowing two runs and four hits while fanning two.
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (82-49): L, 6-4/W, 3-1, vs. Frederick (Orioles)
— Designated hitter Rafael Devers went 3-for-3 and Joseph Monge hit a two-run single to spark the Red Sox’ win in the nightcap. Catcher Ben Moore drove in Salem’s other run on a single that preceded Monge’s hit in the three-run third inning.
— Right-hander Mario Alcantara started and pitched four innings, giving up one run on three hits and five walks with five strikeouts. Righty Jeffry Fernandez then pitched three shutout innings, allowing three walks while fanning two, to pick up his second win with Salem.
— In the opener, catcher Jordan Procyshen went 3-for-3 with an RBI double. Shortstop Deiner Lopez was 2-for-3 with a two-run double in the seventh inning. Devers picked up an RBI single in the seventh.
— Right-hander Anyelo Leclerc pitched the first five innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with one strikeout. Righty Simon Mercedes pitched the final two innings and allowed four runs — all in the seventh inning — on four hits and two walks with one strikeout.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (68-63): W, 8-4, vs. Asheville (Rockies)
— Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to lead a balanced Greenville attack, as eight Drive batters had at least one hit and five drove in at least one run. Infielder Mitchell Gunsolus went 2-for-2 with two walks.
— Left-hander Logan Boyd started and was touched up for four runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five innings. Right-hander Adam Lau pitched two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and three walks with three strikeouts. Righty Gerson Bautista pitched the final two innings. After allowing a single to the first batter he faced, he retired the final six Asheville batters in order, one via strikeout.
SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (41-26): W, 5-1, at Tri-City (Astros)
— The Spinners broke open a scoreless game with five runs in the ninth inning, keyed by a two-run home run from C.J. Chatham (1-for-3, two walks) and a two-run double by Bobby Dalbec (1-for-5).
— Tucker Tubbs went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Nick Sciortino was 2-for-4.
— Michael Shawaryn started and pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Daniel Zandona pitched the final six innings, allowing three hits — including a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning — while striking out five.
ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (31-25): W, 4-1, vs. GCL Twins
— Top draft pick Jason Groome made his second start, again pitching two innings. The 18-year-old left-hander was touched up for his first run allowed as a professional as he gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, and the Twins plated their run on a double steal. However, Groome did not allow another hit, recording five of his six outs via strikeout.
— Right-hander Hildegard Requena pitched the final seven innings, allowing three hits but no runs with four strikeouts. In 12 games (seven starts), the 19-year-old Venezuelan is 3-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
— Third baseman Imeldo Diaz led the offense, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Catcher Samuel Miranda went 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
The schedule is still subject to change, but the original blueprint for the 2017 Red Sox regular season should be a conversation-starter.
According to Major League Baseball sources, the Red Sox are slated to kick off next season at home against the Pirates. They would then head to Detroit for the second series of the year.
It would be the first time the Red Sox began their season at home since 2010, when they played the Yankees in an April 4 meeting. It would mark just the fourth time since 1996 the Red Sox have kicked off the schedule at Fenway Park.
The meeting with the Pirates would mark the Sox’ second National League Opening Day opponent, having played the Phillies in Philadelphia in 2015.
While the 2017 schedules have been presented to the teams in MLB, the plans could change, particularly with time of games and scheduling being a focal point for the players in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.