Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran has played just two games in the Major Leagues, but he’s clearly made a favorable impression on manager Alex Cora.
So favorable, in fact, that the 24-year-old Duran will hit second in the batting order as Boston opens a series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. Duran twice hit seventh during the weekend series against the New York Yankees.
And while Cora doesn’t want the move to come across as a concrete, long-term decision, he admitted Duran’s confidence at the plate made him confident, as well.
“The quality of the at bats,” Cora said during a pregame video conference Monday. “I think he controls the strike zone. He knows what he wants to do. … Something about him. I really like the quality of the at bats. I’m not saying this is the way we’re going to go the rest of the season, but it just felt right today and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Duran’s move up the order comes as Cora is reshuffling the top of the lineup. Kiké Hernández will remain in the leadoff spots ahead of Duran, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez. Alex Verdugo, who has been struggling of late, will bat sixth. Cora said he’s doing so to best maximize Devers and Martinez, who previously were fifth and third, respectively.
Duran’s first career series against the New York Yankees, though, made it a bit easier to justify. He was 1-for-6 with one run and one walk in those two games.
“He faces Gerrit Cole, first pitch base hit. 3-2 count, he strikes out. 3-2 count, he walks,” Cora recalled of Duran. “Yesterday, he saw a lot of pitches. He seems like he belongs.
“Yeah, he swung and missed, he struck out, but they were competitive at bats,” Cora continued. “You can see the energy, you can see the confidence, obviously you see the athlete. … Now we just got to keep finding good matchups for him, keep giving him confidence and he’s going to be a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Duran’s confidence certainly will benefit from a strong series against the Blue Jays. The first game of the three-game set is scheduled for Monday at 7:07 p.m. ET and you can watch it live on NESN.