There weren’t many bright spots in Wednesday night’s 10-4 Red Sox loss to the Twins, but Boston manager Alex Cora still highlighted one.
With infielders Christian Arroyo (hamstring) and Yu Chang (paternity leave) unavailable, the Red Sox made an early season call-up, promoting infield prospect Enmanuel Valdez after 11 games with Triple-A Worcester. And just four at-bats into the 24-year-old’s Major League Baseball career, Cora has already taken notice of one aspect of Valdez’s game.
“He can hit, he can hit,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Just hit the ball hard. Even the last at-bat (eighth-inning lineout) he stayed with the pitch and it went the other way, under control. … I do believe the bat is going to play in the big league level.”
Getting the start in the ninth spot in Boston’s lineup, Valdez recorded his first major league hit — a single — in the third inning, taking an 83 mph splitter from Joe Ryan and shooting it through a hole in the middle infield. Valdez then followed that up with another single to left field, going to the opposite field each time the left-handed hitter made contact. He finished the night 2-for-4.
On the defensive side at second base, Valdez encountered a few early miscues. Valdez registered Boston’s only error, a dropped pop-up that brought him to the outfield grass. But rest assured, Cora backed the young newcomer.
“Interesting night on the other side. I think the fly ball, (Alex Verdugo) needs to go get that baseball,” Cora said. “He needs to. That’s a flyball to right field, he knows it. But the other one, he kind of rushed, saw (Triston) Casas diving, couldn’t make the play. (Gonna) keep getting him better.”