BOSTON — Mookie Betts, who keeps finding ways to make an impact, nearly played third base for the first time in his major league career Tuesday against the Washington Nationals at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox were left scrambling after third baseman Pablo Sandoval exited before the sixth inning with a foot injury. Manager John Farrell revealed before Wednesday’s series finale that he considered inserting Betts at third base before Hanley Ramirez stepped up and shifted from left field to the hot corner.
“There was one thought about putting Mookie at third base because he’s a former infielder,” Farrell said of Betts, who was a second baseman before converting into an outfielder last season. “Hanley said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do whatever you need me to do’ and ended up at third base. It was presented to him the option of going to short or third based on what was most comfortable to him. He opted to go to third.”
Ramirez, also a converted infielder, said after Tuesday’s game he chose third base rather than shortstop, where he has more major league experience, because Brock Holt was playing so well at short. Holt started in place of Xander Bogaerts, who dealt with right knee soreness that kept him out of the lineup.
Ramirez didn’t see any action at third base in his first game at the position since Aug. 1, 2012. But the 31-year-old was confident he would have been able to handle the responsibility just fine.
Betts, on the other hand, would have been navigating uncharted waters, even though his athleticism suggests he, too, would have been up to the challenge. The 22-year-old played 14 less-than-stellar minor league games at shortstop in 2011 and 2012 upon being drafted in the fifth round, but that’s the extent of his professional experience on the left side of the infield.
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