It was a good news/bad news type of day at Fenway on Friday. As expected, they activated Ian Kinsler off the disabled list. This was obviously good news, as he was acquired to be their everyday second baseman but hasn’t been able to fill that role due to injury. He went down with a hamstring injury during the second game of the Yankees series, but will be back in action at Fenway Friday night. The expectation was that a pitcher — likely Hector Velazquez — would be optioned to make room for the second baseman since the team has been playing with a short bench for a long stretch now. However, that is not what happened. Instead, to make room for Kinsler they have placed Rafael Devers on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
Rafael Devers back on the DL for the third time this year. This time again with a hamstring strain. Ian Kinsler activated.— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) August 17, 2018
We’ll start with Kinsler, though there’s really not much to say here except that this is a big return for the Red Sox. Eduardo Núñez and Brock Holt have both been hitting just fine of late, but neither can provide the defense Kinsler does. The veteran also has the higher offensive floor of the trio, too, so he’s clearly the best option here. The infield instantly becomes better with his addition back onto the roster.
As for Devers, well, this is surprising and a little discouraging. If you’ll recall, Devers was just recently brought back from a hamstring issue of his own, though he’s been struggling of late. It hasn’t been consistent struggles, to be fair, since there have been sporadic and exciting flashes. Still, it’s been clear that Devers is in a bit of a slump, and maybe this is a way to get him some time to clear his head and possibly get into some minor-league games without him having to be optioned. In the meantime, you can expect Núñez to get most of the time at third base. The righty, as I said, has been hitting better, and while he’s certainly not going to take home any Gold Gloves at third base he is fine there. It’s a stark difference between his defense at the hot corner and that at second base. Devers’ DL-stint is retroactive to August 16, and he can return August 26. Don’t be surprised if he is just held out until rosters expand on September 1.