BOSTON — Ceddanne Rafaela will serve as the starting shortstop when the Boston Red Sox take the field against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park on Monday.

It will mark the first time this season Rafaela, who has played predominantly in center field with additional time at second base, has started at shortstop.

And while Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed full confidence in the change given Rafaela’s “elite” defensive versatility, Cora also confirmed the decision is part of a bigger plan for Boston.

The plan boils down to the fact Cora and the Red Sox want to get outfielder Wilyer Abreu more at-bats against right-handed pitchers. The Guardians will start right-handed Xzavion Curry on Patriots’ Day.

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“I’m telling you, Wilyer has to play,” Cora said before the game. “Against righties, he will play every day. So we’ll find ways to move people around. He will play.”

When asked a follow-up about Rafaela at shortstop, Cora added: “He’ll play short. We’ll use him at short. But this is not about the shortstop thing. This is about Abreu getting at-bats.”

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Abreu has fared much better against right-handed pitching this season. He’s batting .231 in 29 plate appearances across 11 games but has recorded a .261 average and .668 OPS against righties in contrast to a .000 average in four plate appearances against lefties.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.

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Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images