Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to separate offense and defense.
Bradley, who currently is mired in an 0-for-27 slump, managed to make an impact Friday in the Boston Red Sox’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels despite not being in the starting lineup. The outfielder did so as a defensive replacement.
Howie Kendrick led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a line drive toward the wall in right-center field. Bradley raced back, reached up and made a spectacular snow cone catch before banging into the fence. Amazingly, Bradley held on.
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The catch was huge because the next hitter, David Freese, doubled off the wall. Chris Iannetta also worked a two-out walk before Red Sox closer Koji Uehara finally shut the door on the Halos.
The tremendous grab was the second nice defensive play by Bradley late in Friday’s series opener. Bradley also made a running catch in the eighth inning to take a bloop single away from Mike Trout.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said earlier this week that Bradley eventually needs to produce more offensively. But when the 24-year-old makes plays like his ninth-inning catch Friday, it’s easy to see why the Red Sox are willing to be patient.