Jackie Bradley Jr.’s demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 18 wasn’t a product of coachability issues, according to Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
Bradley took to Twitter on Wednesday to fire back at a report that stated the outfielder’s “stubbornness with the coaching staff” contributed to his mid-August demotion. Cherington also refuted the report while speaking to reporters before the Red Sox’s game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
“First of all, as far as the question about whether that was part of the decision to send him down, I can say absolutely not,” Cherington said. “The decision to send him down was based on our feeling at the time that the offensive part of the game — that he needed to develop a routine that worked for him, and it was going to be easier for him to do that for some period of time in Pawtucket,”
Bradley hit .216 with a .578 OPS and 111 strikeouts in 348 at-bats over 112 games with the Red Sox before being sent back to Pawtucket. It was clear the 24-year-old needed to improve offensively despite his already elite defense, and there was no sense in keeping him on the major league roster if at-bats were going to become sporadic.
Bradley’s demotion hasn’t exactly translated to results, as he’s hit .212 (14-for-66) with a .246 on-base percentage in 14 games with Pawtucket. Changes obviously need to be made, but Cherington doesn’t see any problems with the former first-round pick’s work ethic.
“There’s never been an issue from the Red Sox’s perspective of whether he’s willing to work or whether he cares, anything like that,” Cherington said. “We’re trying to find the right way to reach every player, including Jackie, and then the player has to have a responsibility then, too. That’s a relationship that we strive to reach. We want to build a good, functional relationship with any player. And if one is struggling, it means we still have to work on that, but it had nothing to do with sending him down to Pawtucket.”
It’s likely Bradley will return to the majors as a September call-up once the PawSox finish their current International League playoff run.