In Tuesday night’s win, Jackie Bradley Jr. was involved in a very close play at the plate that included an awkward slide to make it in safely. Although the Red Sox got a run on the play, I think they’d probably take the out instead of what happened next. Bradley had to leave the game with a thumb injury and went to Boston for further tests. Apparently, the results were bad enough that he’ll have to miss some time. They’ve placed him on the 10-day disabled list with a thumb sprain and have recalled Deven Marrero to take his spot on the roster.
This is obviously a blow to Boston’s outfield. Bradley is streaky at the plate, but he’s been coming up with some big swings lately and appeared ready to go on a nice run. This injury has a good chance of spoiling that momentum, partially depending on how long he’s out. Defensively, this is clearly a downgrade, but not as bad as it could be. The Red Sox are very fortunate to have three outfielders who are more than capable of handling center field, and that depth will be on full display for at least the next ten days. Expect Andrew Benintendi to slide over to center field on an everyday basis with Chris Young becoming an everyday player in left field. That would also remove him from the designated hitter slot against left-handed pitching, so one can expect to see Mitch Moreland playing much more often in the near-future.
As for the corresponding move, the Red Sox decided to go with Marrero, though they had a couple of options. Clearly, they needed to add a position player with the roster already imbalanced in favor of pitching. Other than Marrero, they could have went with Tzu-Wei Lin or Sam Travis. Bryce Brentz would have been another option, but he is not on the 40-man and Steve Selsky, the most obvious player to take off the 40-man, is currently on the minor-league disabled list. Lin and Marrero are similar players, so clearly the team prefers the latter’s fit. Travis could have been an option to slide in for Young against left-handed pitching. Instead, they opted for infield defense. With Brock Holt and Eduardo Nuñez now having to play frequently with Dustin Pedroia also on the shelf, having a good glove on the bench is probably a good idea. Speaking of Nuñez and Holt, they now become the backup outfielders with Young now playing an everyday role. There’s a lot of moving pieces as a result of this injury, and hopefully it is just a short stay so the Red Sox roster can get back to normal. Bradley is eligible to return on September 1.
EDIT: Roughly five seconds after I published this the Red Sox put out their lineup and it has Holt in left field. So, it seems they’ll platoon Holt and Young in left field. Shows what I know.