Third base has been a problem spot for the Boston Red Sox this season.
Pablo Sandoval showed some power early on, but he has a right knee sprain and is on the 10-day disabled list. Utility infielders Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez both are on the disabled list, too, leaving Boston with dwindling options at the hot corner.
Josh Rutledge came in for the injured Hernandez on Wednesday, and he was back starting at third base Thursday night in the Baltimore Orioles’ 8-3 win at Fenway Park. But, in what’s become another troubling trend at the hot corner, Rutledge committed an error in the first inning, which means Boston now has made 12 errors at third base this season, as the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton pointed out.
So what’s the solution for Boston? Well, it appears the Sox are sticking with internal options for the time being.
But those options don’t appear to include Rafael Devers, who’s ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, at the moment.
“In Devers’ case, he’s extremely talented. Offensively, and I think he’s going to be a fine defensive third baseman too,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” on Thursday, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “He’s started out very well at Double-A for us. The other day he went 5-for-5 with two home runs so he’s extremely talented.
“It’s hard to say with guys like that because it’s not only the physical part of it, it’s the mental part and if they can deal with it. He had nice exposure to be big leagues during spring training. I think we’ll just wait and let him keep playing and see how he responds during the year.”
And Dombrowski reiterated that point to reporters before Thursday’s game.
Let’s take a look at a few more notes from Red Sox-Orioles.
— Kyle Kendrick’s first major league start since 2015 didn’t go according to plan.
The Red Sox right-hander allowed six earned runs on eight hits in only four innings of work Thursday night, and as manager John Farrell pointed out to reporters after the game, one of his big problems was leaving pitches up in the strike zone.
But Farrell said “at this point, yes,” when asked if Kendrick would get an extended look in the starting rotation. Boston has a spot open after it was announced knuckleballer Steven Wright would undergo season-ending surgery.
— One of the bright spots for the Red Sox was seeing Brandon Workman back on the mound. Workman, who hadn’t pitched for Boston since the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, tossed three scoreless innings Thursday night.
Farrell announced afterward that he was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket, but Thursday still was a big step forward for the reliever.
“It’s been a long journey for him personally,” Farrell said, as aired on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “It’s taken quite a bit of time for him to get quality stuff back, which it’s getting to that point. And as we just met with him, this is part of his progression back to the big leagues on a more full-time basis.
“A year ago at this time as we spoke to him, a lot has happened to him in a positive way. So it’s good to see the work he’s put in, and that’s a lonely journey back from Tommy John. To see it come to life at this level, I know big night for him.”
Thumbnail photo via Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports Images