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Red Sox expect Andrew Benintendi to return soon

Andrew Benintendi’s return is surprisingly close

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There’s good news on the Andrew Benintendi front. According to John Farrell, the young outfielder could actually play as early as Wednesday.

This is certainly a far cry from what anyone expected when Benintendi went down on the basepaths in late August. Between the way the injury happened and how much pain Benintendi seemed to be in, it was seriously in question if he would even be ready by Opening Day of 2017, much less before the end of the regular season in 2016.

But our worst fears—of torn ACLs and season-ending surgery—were thankfully unfounded. Benintendi was diagnosed with a far more mundane sprain, and has since been spotted regularly testing his knee and working his way back into shape before games.

When Benintendi was healthy, he made a huge difference with his presence in the lineup and in left field. He played the role of savior in left field when the Red Sox were desperate to get anything out of the position. He only had 74 plate appearances, but in what time he did have, looked less like the fresh rookie and more like a fully-integrated member of Boston’s excellent young core.

Now? Honestly, his return might not be quite the same shot in the arm that his debut proved. Chris Young has since returned to the lineup and picked up right where he--and Benintendi, for that matter—left off, hitting .257/.409/.514 over the past few weeks. Still, his numbers are best against lefties, and having both Benintendi and Young available would allow the Sox to maximize both players’ output.

And perhaps more importantly, it’s just exciting to have Benintendi around. He is the future, and seeing that future perform right out of the gates the way Benintendi did is, for lack of a better term, awesome. The Red Sox are a lot more fun when he’s around, and not just because he helps them win games.