Carlos Beltran Rumors Take Backseat to Josh Reddick-J.D. Drew Battle in Right Field

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July 20, 2011

Carlos Beltran Rumors Take Backseat to Josh Reddick-J.D. Drew Battle in Right Field As some reports have the Red Sox heavily courting New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, and others suggest they are merely kicking the tires, the drama surrounding right field in Boston has taken its own internal turn.

Many thought that Friday, the opener of a seven-game homestand, would be the day that we see Terry Francona actually pick Josh Reddick over J.D. Drew in right field, or vice versa if the manager chooses to stick with his struggling veteran.

David Ortiz is due back from a three-game suspension that night. During the first two games of the suspension, Francona has installed one of his other outfielders in the DH spot and has been able to keep both Reddick and Drew in the lineup.

It?s doubtful Francona was avoiding the issue. If he was, he couldn?t hold out for all three games of the suspension. By giving the slumping Adrian Gonzalez a chance to DH on Wednesday afternoon, Francona had to make a choice in the outfield. Perhaps Drew, who is 1-for-5 with a homer against right-hander Jake Arrieta, needed a day off. Perhaps Tito remembered some good at-bats Reddick has had against Arrieta in the past, despite being 0-for-2 in his career against the O's hurler.

Or, perhaps Francona has made his choice based purely on the guy who is playing better baseball and the one he would rather have in the starting lineup. That would be Josh Reddick.

The 24-year-old, who can play all three outfield positions, will be limited to right field as long as Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are healthy. If his stellar play (.367, four home runs, 18 RBIs in 28 games) has indeed pushed him past Drew on the depth chart, it represents a rather dramatic shift, in large part because it pushes aside a man making $14 million for one making $417,500.

The Red Sox may be involved in Beltran. They may look at less-splashy maneuvers for outfield help. More likely, they will press on with what they have. And what they have may start with Josh Reddick, if Wednesday?s lineup is any indication.

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