The Red Sox had plenty of good reasons to not let Rafael Devers play first base at the World Baseball Classic.
ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reported that the Dominican Republic was hopeful the Boston third baseman would be able to play a little bit at first base during the tournament, but the team declined due to it being an unfamiliar position to Devers.
It makes plenty of sense. The Red Sox just extended Devers in the offseason and he’s the future at third base for the team. Devers also has no experience at first base and even though he certainly knows how to man third, it doesn’t automatically mean that same kind of defense will transfer to the other corner.
“It’s something that doesn’t make sense to us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. “I know (some Dominican players) got hurt, but there’s a reason the people who got hurt aren’t playing, right? We have to protect our guy and they understand that.
“When you have good players, you have to make tough decisions. Raffy’s on board. He’s just happy to be part of the team and ready to contribute whenever they put his name in the lineup. But it’s not going to be at first base.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had to drop out of the WBC due to a knee injury, leaving the Dominican Republic without its first baseman. Devers has served as the designated hitter in its first two games, but could move to third Tuesday against Israel.