Kelly Shoppach, Jarrod Saltalamacchia Could Be Options to Back Up Nick Punto at Second Base


Kelly Shoppach, Jarrod Saltalamacchia Could Be Options to Back Up Nick Punto at Second BaseBOSTON — Bobby Valentine was already short on outfielders. Now, the Red Sox skipper has limited infielders at his disposal.

While the training staff continues to monitor the swelling in Dustin Pedroia's right thumb, the Red Sox will rely on Nick Punto to patrol second base. The team will do so, at least on Wednesday, without a capable and experienced backup.

If anything occurs with Punto, Valentine mentioned two unlikely options as possible backups.

"Kelly Shoppach came down with a fielder's glove the other night," Valentine said. "And [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] has taken ground balls."

It wouldn't be the first time a Red Sox slugger has played out of position this season. With six outfielders on the disabled list, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez volunteered to dabble in right field for the near future.

But the lack of depth in the infield will only be short-term. After Wednesday's game against the Tigers, the Red Sox brass will re-evaluate Pedroia's situation and could be ready to recall Jose Iglesias or Pedro Ciriaco from Pawtucket.

"We're going to see what it looks like," Valentine said. "[On Tuesday] we played it against a right-hander. [On Wednesday], we're playing against a left-hander. We want to just — let's see what it looks like. I know you can imagine it. I'd rather see it, feel it."

Before Wednesday's game, Pedroia attempted to take dry swings in the cage. The Red Sox quickly quashed his plan.

Punto, meanwhile, is trying to develop a rhythm at the plate in Pedroia's place. The infielder is only batting .140 with three RBIs this season.

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