Arroyo returns, Tapia DFA’ed, Story making progress
Story could DH first, Duvall may be back Friday
The Red Sox activated Christian Arroyo from the 10-day injured list on Monday, hopefully giving their infield a much-needed refresher.
Arroyo hasn’t played since May 6 in Philadelphia, when the Red Sox were 21-14. In 24 games since, they only added nine wins to their season total.
Over 27 games this season, Arroyo is hitting .257 with a .660 OPS, 19 hits, including five doubles and a home run, 12 runs, 11 RBI, a stolen base, four walks, and 17 strikeouts.
When healthy, Arroyo is capable of going on incredible offensive tears. He’d been on one before going on the IL; over his last 10 games, he went 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles, his first home run of the season, eight runs, eight RBI, two walks, and just four strikeouts.
However, the infielder’s return comes at a surprising cost; as the corresponding move, the Red Sox designated Raimel Tapia for assignment.
Tapia appeared in 39 games, primarily coming off the bench. He also spent six games in the leadoff spot, going hitless with two strikeouts and a walk in the first at-bat of the game.
Overall, he hit a respectable .264 with a .701 OPS, but didn’t display the kind of power he showed off in spring training (or against the Red Sox during his Toronto Blue Jays days). He contributed some clutch hits, though, going 4-for-10 when batting with two outs and runners in scoring position.
While he expressed confidence in Jarren Duran, Alex Cora called the Tapia decision a “tough one.”
With Adam Duvall on the IL with a broken wrist in mid-April, Duran has assumed the bulk of the centerfield duties. After beginning the season in Triple-A, Duran is hitting .280 with a .777 OPS, 42 hits (including 15 doubles and three home runs) over 42 big-league games, but has been mired in a cold stretch of late.
“He’s been going through his struggles the last few weeks,” Cora said, but added, “We can’t just give up on him.”
But now, Duvall is targeting a return as early as the end of the week.
The Red Sox outfield is about to get a bit crowded.
Trevor Story, DH?
Trevor Story is progressing after his internal brace surgery in January, but the Red Sox are ready to consider having him make a partial return if it means getting him back sooner, rather than later.
On Monday, Cora provided an update that the 30-yearold infielder is now throwing 105 feet and taking batting practice at the team’s Fort Myers, Florida facility.
Most notably, the manager didn’t rule out Story coming back as the designated hitter first. He would join a list of notable hitters around the league who’ve suffered UCL injuries and returned to the plate before resuming defensive play; Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper each served as their team’s DH following Tommy John surgery.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox could use Story’s glove as much, if not more, than his bat at the moment. He finished 2022 with 10 Outs Above Average (T-9 among qualified MLB infielders), 8 Runs Prevented, and a career-best 81% success rate. He only made six errors in 94 games (92 starts).
Entering Monday, the team’s 39 errors tied for second-most in the majors, and they’re well below average in assists, put-outs, and double plays turned. Their 4.97 runs allowed per game is sixthhighest, their defensive efficiency rating tied for seventh-worst.
The infield, in particular, is something of a black hole, with minus-11 OAA and minus-8 Runs Prevented, both the fourth-worst marks in the majors.
A significant bulk of that burden belongs to Kiké Hernández, whose 13 errors are the most in the American League (no other player has more than eight). His minus-9 OAA is the secondworst mark among all major league qualified fielders, his minus-7 Runs Prevented tied for second-worst.
Getting Arroyo back will help somewhat; he’s in the 62nd percentile in Outs Above Average, and hasn’t made an error at any position this season. In 138 career games (1,054 2/3 innings) at second base, he’s only made one error.
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to collect members of the team that bested them in the 2018 World Series.
On Monday, they signed Ryan Brasier to a minor league contract, a couple of weeks after the Red Sox DFA’ed and released the 35-year-old right-hander.
Brasier was key to Boston’s championship run five years ago, making nine relief appearances, including two against the Dodgers. He only allowed one earned run that October, in Game 1 of the World Series.
Other members of Boston’s last championship team to wear Dodger blue since 2018 are Craig Kimbrel,
Joe Kelly, David Price, and of course, Mookie Betts.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox now have more members of the 2018 Dodgers than their own historic squad from that season: Hernández, Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner, and Kenley Jansen now call Fenway home, and Rafael Devers and Chris Sale are the last vestiges of Boston’s most recent championship season,
American League Beast
The AL East continues to be a juggernaut, in which you can have a winning record and still be in last place.
But despite their many injuries and woes, there is a small comfort in seeing the Red Sox handle their division rivals better than they did last year.
At home, anyway. They’re 1-6 against their division on the road, but 7-3 against them at Fenway this season, including a series victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the first weekend of the season and a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays at the beginning of May; last year, they didn’t have two series victories against the division until the middle of August.
The Red Sox may not have to face Aaron Judge in the Bronx this weekend.
Judge wowed fans with an outrageous catch at Dodger Stadium this weekend, but the dazzling moment may have lasting consequences for the reigning AL MVP. He sat out Sunday’s series finale with what could be a broken toe, and told reporters there’s a chance he could be headed to the IL. According to MLB’s Bryan Hoch, the slugger is expected to have X-rays, an MRI, or both when the Yankees return to New York.
After making league history last season by hitting 62 home runs to break Roger Maris’ single-season record, the 31-year-old slugger is threatening pitchers with a repeat performance this year. He leads the AL with 19 home runs (including 13 in 23 games since coming off the IL on May 9), and leads the majors with a .674 slugging percentage, 1.078 OPS, and 193 OPS+.