SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Red Sox lost productive bats in Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner and Adam Duvall after the 2023 season.

Entering 2024, Boston will have to rely on internal improvement from returning players. Two hitters in particular outfielder Masataka Yoshida and shortstop Trevor Story could dictate what the Red Sox can do at the plate this season.

Hitting coach Pete Fatse worked with both players to different degrees this winter, including recent in-person sessions with Story.

“It was a guy who was playing through some things,” Fatse told reporters Saturday during Red Sox Winter Weekend at the MassMutual Center. “We all know what he brings. You see him walk around here with the physicality. I was down with him last week and we hit in Boston. He looks great. He’s moving well. Ultimately, those are the signs to see.”

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In 137 games over his first two seasons with Boston, Story hit .227 with a .685 OPS, far from his previous production as a two-time Silver Slugger recipient. As he now enters 2024 healthy with a productive offseason, Fatse believes shades of Story’s past will finally resurface.

“We have to understand the situation he’s been in the last couple of years,” Fatse said. “Obviously, expectations are high, as they should be. I think we’re going to see a guy closely resembling what he’s been in the past.”

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As for Yoshida, Fatse notes that working with a Japanese player in Yoshida has been a first, though the team has been in “constant communication” with the outfielder.

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Yoshida had a decent rookie season, hitting 15 home runs in 140 games, though he slowed down in the final weeks after a long year of games with the MLB season and the World Baseball Classic. With a year of experience and perspective, Fatse expects a well-prepared Yoshida in 2024.

“Last year, he was experiencing a bunch of firsts,” Fatse said. “Not only the league itself, but the travel. A lot of different cultural elements to being here. He’s probably a lot more prepared for that the second time around. With the World Baseball Classic and the length of the season, he was playing for a long period of time. Ultimately, that’s probably influenced how he’s trained this offseason in preparing for 162 (games) this year.”

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images