Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed last week that Trevor Story will be Boston’s starting shortstop upon returning from the injured list.

Notable? Yes, seeing as Story moved to second base last season, his first with Boston after six years playing shortstop for the Colorado Rockies.

Surprising? Not really. It was the expected move after Xander Bogaerts’ free agency departure, and there’s an even greater need for shortstop stability now with Kiké Hernández struggling defensively since shifting to the infield.

Cora’s update before Monday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays was more eye-opening.

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The Sox skipper didn’t rule out Story returning as a designated hitter before he’s able to play defense. It’s unclear how much that would move up Story’s projected timeline, but it’s nevertheless a fascinating wrinkle in his rehab from offseason elbow surgery.

“I’m not saying no; we always leave the door open for stuff like that,” Cora told reporters of the possibility, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey. “But we also have to be very smart with the roster we have.”

The Red Sox will head to Cleveland on Tuesday for the start of a six-game road trip that includes three games apiece against the Guardians and New York Yankees. They’ll then return home to Fenway Park for three games against the Colorado Rockies starting next Monday, at which point Story is expected to rejoin the team for a check-up and to discuss the next steps in his rehab. According to Cora, Story is throwing at 105 feet and taking batting practice in a batting cage in Fort Myers, Fla.

Story returning as a DH isn’t the answer to all that ails Boston. But that it’s even a consideration speaks to the progress the two-time All-Star is making in his recovery and therefore should be viewed as an encouraging sign for the Red Sox.

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Story slashed .238/.303/.434 with 16 home runs, 66 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 94 games (396 plate appearances) last season.

Featured image via Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports Images