After hosting both the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres, the Boston Red Sox will continue interleague play on the road as they will travel to face the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, and Houston Astros as part of a nine-game road trip.
While the Red Sox are 22-14 away from Fenway Park, they will have a big disadvantage on this road trip--no Designated Hitter.
The Red Sox' current designated hitter, David Ortiz will now be forced to either play the field or take a spot on the bench. Being one of the hottest hitters on the team (.313/.391/.586), it would be very wise not to bench him. The dilemma that has arisen is that Ortiz has only played first base in his career, which is where he would have to go if he were to play defense.
The problem is that the only better hitter on the team than Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez (.359/.410/.609) also plays first base. There is one thing, however, that could be a silver lining in this predicament. Back in 2005 when he was with Texas, Gonzalez played a game in right field. While he doesn't have a lot of experience out there, he has at least set foot there.
Over the past few days, the biggest debate has been whether or not manager Terry Francona will choose to alternate between Gonzalez and Ortiz at first base, or allow Ortiz to be the starting first baseman and insert Gonzalez in right field, a position that hasn't had a lot of offensive production this season.
With J.D. Drew (.228/.330/.326) and Mike Cameron (.161/.227/.287) not producing a whole lot, keeping Gonzalez' bat in the lineup on this road trip is a no brainer. However with his limited experience in right field, is it worth the risk? He seems to think so.
Gonzalez appeared on WEEI earlier this week to express his willingness to play some games in the outfield so he and Ortiz can be in the lineup together, rather than it being one or the other. There's no question that Adrian Gonzalez is a team guy, and he would definitely move to the outfield if he needed to.
Francona however is unsure about putting Gonzalez in right field. He has every reason to be skeptical. Despite his limited experience of only one game, Gonzalez in right also brings up serious injury concerns because of the unfamiliar territory. The last thing we need if for Adrian Gonzalez, like so many other Red Sox players this week, to go on the disabled list and miss serious time. It may be advantageous to allow Ortiz and Gonzalez to split time at first base.
However, taking into perspective how bad our right field options are and how valuable both Gonzalez and Ortiz are to the lineup, it may be worth the risk.
So with that we ask you, Over the Monster. How confident are YOU in Adrian Gonzalez in right field?