Red Sox Notes: Mookie Betts Medically Cleared, Eyeing Mid-Week Return

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It could be just days before Mookie Betts is back patrolling center field for the Boston Red Sox.

Betts, who last week was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, rejoined the Red Sox on Friday in Detroit and has been medically cleared to resume baseball activities.

“It’s a first,” Betts told reporters of the head injury he suffered July 28 while tumbling into the Red Sox’s bullpen, via MassLive.com. “I never really experienced anything of that nature. First time on the DL. I got time to watch the game and learn, the same way I did the first time when I got hurt running into the fence (on June 12). I also learned to try to stay away from the fence.”

Manager John Farrell said Betts might require a brief minor league rehab assignment, but that he’s on track to return to big league action during Boston’s two-game series with the Miami Marlins, which begins Tuesday.

“The final submission of paperwork to MLB is really the last step,” Farrell told reporters. “So, he’s been cleared to go through all physical activity, but to be activated, there’s still that final protocol of administrative paperwork.”

Some additional notes from Friday’s game, which the Red Sox won 7-2 over the Detroit Tigers:

— Travis Shaw is listed as a first baseman, but he’s actually spent the bulk of his time with the Sox this season at third — where he was initially penciled in Friday night before the Mike Napoli trade pushed him back to first. Farrell before the game raved about the 25-year-old’s versatility, saying he’d even consider slotting him in as a middle infielder if the need arose.

“He was a college third baseman, so he’s played a number of games at the position,” Farrell told reporters, as aired on “Red Sox Gameday LIVE.” “Transfers primarily to first base for the early part of his minor league career, and then all of the sudden this year, he’s back to playing 50 percent of each. Where(ver) you put him on the field, there’s an ease about his actions that he doesn’t panic, he doesn’t speed up defensively. He’s shown good hands and plenty of arm strength at third base, and he’s made himself a more valuable player by being able to go to both corners.

“And if we were to get into a jam, honestly — if we were to get into a freaky game, heck, I’d stick him at shortstop or second base. He knows how to play the game, he’s grown up around it. So, in a pinch, there’s a willingness to put him, really, anywhere on the field.”

— Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations, met with Red Sox players before the game to discuss concerns about instant replay and how the strike zone has been called this season.

“The definition of the strike zone has not changed, but the lower pitch is clearly being called,” Farrell told reporters, via the Boston Herald. “The real change came during last season, not this season, which, I don’t know, we feel like you see more pitches below the zone being called strikes. There’s a two-inch variance around the strike zone in all ways that’s an acceptable miss.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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