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If Hanley Ramirez is hurt, is Yoan Moncada the Red Sox' answer?

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With the Red Sox awaiting word on Ramirez, Yoan Moncada is getting an oddly long break.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Hanley Ramirez hurt his wrist last night when he tripped descending some stairs following Boston's 5-4 loss to the Mariners. And, as the hours drag on with no word on the results of his MRI, there's increasing cause for concern that the Red Sox might be without their first baseman for some time going forward.

For now, all we can do is hope that the news will be good for Hanley. But the Red Sox are obviously going to need a contingency plan in case things don't turn out that way. Enter this news from Portland:

Now, the "second straight day" part is certainly a bit odd. Moncada was actually scheduled to play on Tuesday, but was a late scratch. The word from the Sea Dogs was that it was actually a scheduled day off, with presumably some mix-up in the manager's office leading to his being listed in the first place. If we don't take that at face value then it's possible he's dealing with a minor injury of some sort which would also explain his absence today.

If we do take the Sea Dog's word for it, though, that means Moncada's absence today is odd indeed. The managerial staff have again come out and said that he's healthy and just getting a second day off. But the timing is certainly a little convenient, and invites some speculation that Moncada may well follow Andrew Benintendi up to the Red Sox if Hanley has to hit the disabled list, with Travis Shaw moving over to first base and Moncada manning third.

If it seems the obvious answer, that's not necessarily the case. Yes, the Red Sox did just promote Benintendi straight from Double-A, but Benintendi is the more polished of the two both at the plate and in the field. Moncada has the higher upside, but there have certainly been some contact issues (he's already over 100 strikeouts on the year), and has barely started work at third after spending the season at second as the Red Sox worked to get him a solid base at one position before shifting him elsewhere.

That being said, they've just shown the willingness to do this sort of thing with Benintendi, and if Moncada really isn't quite where the Red Sox would want him to be before a promotion, they've brought up players who might not have been fully ready before when the situation demanded it. Just last year, Blake Swihart was called up probably a few months before he ideally would have been when Boston's entire catching corps was hit with injury after injury. The Sox do have some more depth here--they could go with a Holt/Hill platoon at third while Shaw plays first--but then again, getting Holt out of a starting role was no small part of why Benintendi was brought up.

It's also not like Moncada has never played third before. If he lacks the polish of a major leaguer, he did play third in Cuba, meaning that if he won't have had the finer points drilled into him, he'll at least have some familiarity with the different angles and broader strokes of playing the position.

For now, we do know that Moncada is still with the Sea Dogs, and not on a plane to Seattle. But one wonders if the Sox are holding him out of the game just in case they want to change that and get him to the West Coast so that he can suit up tomorrow.