The promotion of outfield prospect Jarren Duran provides the Boston Red Sox with a good problem to have.
The Red Sox now have added another player to the mix, and manager Alex Cora depicted that Duran would have been in the starting lineup if Thursday’s game against the New York Yankees was not postponed due to COVID protocols. Essentially, that would have moved utility man Kiké Hernández to second base and meant second baseman Christian Arroyo started on the bench.
Cora acknowledged the different combinations that Duran’s call-up could present.
“We’ll consider left field, too. It’s something that we talk about,” Cora said on a video conference implying Duran’s versatility. “Obviously (Hernández) is going to play a little more second base than usual. But (Duran’s) been playing left, center and right, so we’ll move him around. We’ll go with whatever we need that day, or whoever gets an off-day we’ll use him. So it’s not a given that he’s going to play center field every day.”
The Red Sox have deployed an outfield mostly consisting of, from left to right, Alex Verdugo, Hernández and Hunter Renfroe. It’s unlikely that Verdugo or Renfroe will be taken out of the starting lineup, especially if they can keep up their production at the plate. And even if Renfroe does hit a slump, his defense is too good to not have in the grass. Of course, having four capable outfielders — not including designated hitter J.D. Martinez — is not a bad thing.
Cora also explained what it could mean for Arroyo, specifically. The 26-year-old certainly has been impactful both at the plate and in the field making him another player that probably shouldn’t see a drastic decrease in playing time.
“He worked out at first base today. We’ll try to get him comfortable there,” Cora said. “Actually today I said ‘Just let me know when you’re comfortable’ and he said ‘I’m comfortable right now.’ So he’ll play second, he can play short, he can play third, he can play first, we can DH him.
“There’s different ways. We’ll keep getting him at bats,” Cora added. “He’ll play against every lefty we face, we know that, but I do believe facing righties is something that helps him out and we’ll figure out how to get him there against righties.”
First base has been a position without much depth for the Red Sox. Bobby Dalbec has become the primary starter with utility man Danny Santana playing at the bag, as well. But if Arroyo can catch on at first he could provide a strong-hitting option in addition to Dalbec. Arroyo, as noted by Cora, was seen taking practice reps at first base before Thursday’s previously-schedule game against the Yankees.
Nevertheless, the Red Sox are in a favorable position as they look to keep their hold of the American League East and ultimately put together a postseason run.