Alejandro De Aza Turning Heads As Hanley Ramirez’s Left Field Replacement

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June 29, 2015

Alejandro De Aza has been a revelation for the Boston Red Sox in relief of the injured Hanley Ramirez.

Making his fifth consecutive start in left field Monday night, the former Baltimore Oriole went 3-for-4 with a triple as the Red Sox knocked off the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 at Rogers Centre.

Acquired as an additional outfield body following injuries to Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava, De Aza, whom the Orioles designated for assignment earlier this season, is proving to be a much more valuable asset than initially expected.

“If you look back to what he was able to do against us last year while in Baltimore with a clearly defined role, he was a very productive player,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters after Monday’s win, as aired on “Red Sox Extra Innings LIVE.” “And now that he’s getting regular at-bats, he’s starting to prove that again. And he comes to us at a time when we’re having a little bit of a rotation, in right field in particular. Hanley goes down, so the at-bats are there.

“I can’t say it’s more than we anticipated, but he gets DFA’d obviously for roster reasons (by the Orioles), and he’s fit right in here very well.”

De Aza’s contributions weren’t limited to what he could provide with his bat, either. It was his relay from the warning track that led to third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s chase-down tag of Russell Martin in the second inning, and he also showed impressive range in tracking down fly balls in the sixth and ninth.

For Red Sox fans who have watched Ramirez’s slow and painful adjustment to life in the outfield this season, the difference was stark.

“He’s got very good range,” Farrell told reporters. “He can run. We’ve seen it even across the field, whether it’s been with (the Chicago White Sox) or Baltimore. But the range he showed (Monday night) is as good as you’re probably going to see from a left fielder.”

Ramirez is expected to return from his hand injury at some point during the Red Sox’s four-game series in Toronto, but De Aza is making a strong case for more consistent playing time. In those five games Boston’s everyday left fielder has been sidelined for, his replacement has gone 9-for-19 (.474) with a double, a triple, three home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored.

Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images

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