The Red Sox are looking to clinch the three-game series against the Guardians on Thursday night and will do so without the bat of right fielder Alex Verdugo, who is not in the lineup after failing to hustle to second base in the seventh inning of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed on NESN’s pregame coverage that Verdugo would not be available for the game, including coming off the bench.
The Red Sox were trailing the Guardians, 5-2, in the top of the seventh when Verdugo reached first on a fielder’s choice with two outs to bring up Masataka Yoshida. Yoshida hit a slow grounder which pulled Cleveland first baseman Josh Naylor off the bag, and his only option was to go to second for the force out. Verdugo, who didn’t appear to be running at full speed, hesitated allowing Naylor to make the out.
“We just felt in that play that his reaction wasn’t a great one,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s pregame coverage. “Not hustling his behind to second. I don’t know if he’s out or safe, but I didn’t like it. So, I took him out of the game yesterday. He’s not starting today.”
Story continues below advertisement
Cora added that Verdugo is one of the players on the field that has been solid, despite the recent wave of defensive miscues by the club over the past few weeks.
“Defensively. He’s one of the best in the big leagues. Offensively, he’s been solid, even base running, which is one of the things that he needed to get better. He’s doing a good job,” Cora said. “But, obviously where we at, and I didn’t want to use him as an example because we have to be better in a lot of aspects. But yesterday, I felt like that’s not acceptable, and he knows it. So took him out of the game. And then today, he’s not gonna start.”
Cora did not indicate whether Verdugo would be available in the opener of the three-game series against the divisional rival New York Yankees on Friday night.
Featured image via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images