BOSTON — Red Sox rookie Masataka Yoshida’s first season has taken an unexpected turn, seeing him fall into a notable slump as the calendar turned to August.

Yoshida was once viewed as the favorite to win American League Rookie of the Year, but has seen his batting average drop from .320 to .294 over the last month. The 30-year-old has struggled to find consistency at the plate and in the field, which partly influenced Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s decision to sit him in Saturday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I think he’s a little bit off mechanically,” Cora told reporters Saturday afternoon. “If you take a look at his walk rate, he’s only walked once in August and that’s not him. There was an at-bat yesterday and it wasn’t him. … We want him to be aggressive, but the at-bat is a lot different lately than it was early in the season.

“… It’s one of those (situations) that you just keep working with him. I mean, obviously the season is different (from Japan) and you talk about the travel and all that stuff, but this is a guy we recognized as someone that can do the job for us. He wanted to play at this level. We have to take care of him in a certain way, but at the same time we have to play him through stuff like this.”

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The workload is certainly different, as Yoshida never played more than 143 games in a season in Japan — where all teams play in the same time zone. He has already suited up in 114 games for Boston, while playing in four different time zones.

The expectation, of course, is that Yoshida will adapt with the help of a reduced offseason schedule prior to 2022. It’s something that many players have adjusted to before him — including the very best in the sport.

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“There’s no (World Baseball Classic), either,” Cora said. “We forget about that part. He came to the states, went back to Japan and came back. I’m not saying that’s the reason he’s going this way, but he’s learning a lot about what he needs to do physically to get ready for this. We talk about (Shohei) Ohtani early in his career, where he was and then he made adjustments not only on the field but as far as the other stuff, and he became really, really good. There’s a few things that he’ll add in the offseason that will prepare him a little bit better for a big league season.”

“We talk about (Shohei) Ohtani early in his career, where he was and then he made adjustments.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Masataka Yoshida’s slump

Ohtani had a similar skid at the plate in his rookie season, batting .203 in July 2018 with just five RBIs in 22 total games. He was obviously pitching during that stretch, but it was yet another case of a player needing to adapt to his new schedule.

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Is Yoshida going to magically morph into a perennial MVP candidate? No, probably not, but he does have a recent blueprint to follow as he prepares for a big league schedule for the second time. In fact, it was someone he’s been teammates with and admittedly has learned from before.

We’re sure the Red Sox wouldn’t hate the MVP thing, though.

Featured image via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images