Elite prospect Rafael Devers entered yesterday with a .904 OPS for Double-A Portland, but the Red Sox went with a different Sea Dogs infielder as their starting third baseman last night.
Tzu-Wei Lin, who has a career .241 average and .638 OPS in six minor league seasons but had been enjoying a breakout year in Portland, became the sixth starting third baseman used by the Sox this season. It was his first major league start.
Deven Marrero and Pablo Sandoval have each started 25 games at third, Josh Rutledge 15 games, Marco Hernandez nine and Brock Holt one. All except Marrero are currently on the disabled list.
Manager John Farrell said he preferred the matchup with Lin, a left-handed hitter, instead of Marrero against Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios. Lin came through with a single in his first career at-bat.
“Deven has had more success against left-handed pitching,” Farrell said. “A day to get Lin on the field. He’s been eased in with the two appearances, either a pinch-runner (Saturday) or defensive replacement (Sunday).”
Lin, 23, is a 5-foot-9, 155-pounder from Taiwan who has spent the majority of his career playing shortstop. He’s hitting .302 with an .870 OPS in Portland this year.
“Defense is a priority (at third base), Farrell said. “And keep in mind, Lin is coming here as a good solid defender. Recognize what Deven has done at third base, he’s stabilized it. But there are also situations offensively to come up in this spot to execute as the situation calls for. We’ve had a mixed bag with that.”
Farrell was likely alluding to Marrero in bunt situations.
Back in Portland, the Press Herald is reporting that Devers will miss a few games with knee soreness, only presenting the Red Sox with more disappointing news at third base, where they rank dead last in OPS (.563) and WAR (-1.4) while committing 49 errors through 75 games.
The non-waiver trade deadline is more than a month away and with so much parity in the American League, it may be difficult for the Sox to find a worthy trading partner in the near future.
Farrell sounded as if he was hoping for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to provide him with an additional option soon.
“If it is improved or if it is addressed, I think there are options that can be obtained,” Farrell said. “Whether that’s internally or externally, I don’t know of that at this point. But setting that aside, there are other spots in the lineup that we’re trying to get on track a little more consistently. And that’s not selecting any one guy in particular. There are a couple of guys in here. Because the way our offensive is built, we have to work top to bottom, one through nine, to work as a unit and not be relying on just a couple hitters at one given time.”
Sore Hanley sits out
Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch because of soreness after he was plunked in the knee in Sunday’s game. Farrell was hoping he’d play and originally wrote his name in the lineup, but Ramirez was unable to go and replaced by Chris Young. . . .
Henry Owens was demoted to Double-A Portland. The lefty walked 60 batters in 69 innings in Pawtucket, striking out 72 with a 3.91 ERA.
“Two of the last three times out, the number of walks have been uncharacteristically high,” Farrell said. “Even for Henry.”
Owens walked 20 in 22 innings with the Red Sox last year. He has a career walk rate of 4.7 walks per nine innings in the minors.
Farrell said the 6-foot-6 Owens will begin tinkering with a lower arm slot in an attempt to help his command.
Pablo heads to Pawtucket
Sandoval, suspiciously on the DL with an ear infection, will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket today.
Sandoval is just the third MLB player since the start of 2010 to land on the disabled list with an ear infection (Colby Rasmus with the 2016 Houston Astros and Coco Crisp with the 2012 Oakand A’s). All three players were hitting .212 or below with an OPS of .638 or below at the time.
Sandoval was hitting .212 with a .622 OPS before his DL stint.
“When he returns, it’s with the intent that he’s got an opportunity and certainly the ability to impact our team on both sides of the baseball,” Farrell said. “It’s going to be based on the evaluations of those who see him, how he’s feeling from a timing standpoint, certainly from a confidence standpoint defensively. All those will be part of the eventual decision that will be made once he comes back to us.”
Jhonny Peralta, the 35-year-old veteran who was signed to a minor league contract after posting a .204 average and .462 OPS with the St. Louis Cardinals this year, will report to Pawtucket today as well. He and Sandoval will alternate at third base and designated hitter.
Smith begins throwing
Carson Smith (shoulder inflammation, Tommy John recovery) began a throwing program. He had been shut down for over a week just before the Red Sox were hoping to send him on a rehab assignment.
“We all felt like he was two days away from beginning a rehab assignment,” Farrell said. “His return, eventual return, will be, I think, a very positive addition to this bullpen and he’d be out there when first ready to do that.” . . .
There were no Red Sox players in the top three at any position during the last update for All-Star voting.
Voting is done by the fans to pick the starters, but the All-Star Game managers choose pitchers and bench players. Voting ends in four days....Read more