Arroyo-Chavis derby; Sawamura improves

March 22nd, 2021

In the top of the third inning on Monday afternoon against the Rays, gave his candidacy to earn a roster spot an additional boost when he belted a three-run homer to left field in the Red Sox's 10-4 victory.

No sooner had Arroyo finished running the bases than unloaded on the next pitch and put it over the wall for a deep homer to right-center field.

You couldn't help but note the timing, because Arroyo and Chavis could well be competing for the final spot on Boston's bench.

For Chavis, it was his sixth homer of Spring Training, which is tied with (who also went deep Monday) for the team lead. The right-handed-hitting Chavis has an impressive slash line of .302/.362/.767.

The 25-year-old is looking like the player who was once ranked the No. 1 prospect in Boston's farm system by MLB Pipeline and not the one who struggled last season and in the latter half of his rookie year of 2019.

Meanwhile, Arroyo, once a top prospect himself with the Giants, is slashing .300/.349/.550 with three homers and eight RBIs.

"It's fun to watch and that's what it's all about, right? Both are doing an amazing job," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "We're moving them around in the infield, they're getting their at-bats. I think both of them are leading the team in at-bats during Spring Training."

Both players offer versatility on defense. Chavis plays first, second and third. Arroyo plays second, shortstop and third.

Chavis has Minor League options left. Arroyo does not.

"That's the beauty of having a solid team, a complete team. You have to make tough decisions, and whatever decision we make is for the benefit of the team -- and obviously for the organization," said Cora. "But it doesn't mean that this guy is a lot better than the other one. It's just a matter of what fits right now, and what fits for the future. We are very pleased with the way they have competed.

"They're pulling for each other, which is good to see. And that makes this Spring Training a lot better. We want them to pull for each other, and then we have to make the decision."

There is a path where both Arroyo and Chavis could crack the Opening Day roster, and that's if left fielder starts the season on the injured list.

Cordero got a late start to camp due to COVID-19 and Monday was his second Grapefruit League game, and first in the outfield. He went 1-for-2.

"It was good," Cora said of Cordero's day. "Smart individual, too, talking to him about defense and baserunning is pretty good. Now we just have to see how he feels [Tuesday] and then he'll play the outfield [Wednesday] in the night game against Baltimore. Good at-bats, he ran the bases well, which is very important, so that was a positive for him today."

Sawamura improves
After shaky outings in his first two Grapefruit League games, Japanese rookie reliever looked more comfortable on Monday. He gave up a leadoff double and a two-out walk but didn't give up a run in his one inning. He finished by striking out Brandon Lowe.

"That was good," said Cora. "That was really good. On 0-2, it looked like a split right on the right-handed hitter. He was out in front. He made some good pitches. Good slider. Good fastball, too. We're making progress. He felt very comfortable on the mound."

The righty is expected to be a key part of Cora's late-inning crew.

"My first outing and second outing weren't that good. I accept that," Sawamura said. "The one thing I can say is that I will stick to my daily routine. Whatever I work on will remain the same on and off the field. I wasn't really looking at the results today. It's more of the process that I was looking at. I'll try to be better than the last time every time out."

It was interesting that at one juncture Sawamura's interpreter, Yutaro Yamaguchi, came out for a mound visit that didn't involve anyone on the coaching staff. That was the idea of catcher Christian Vázquez, who was just trying to keep everyone on the same page.

"We were able to use Yu in that situation that Christian had to talk to Kaz, which is good, you know. That's part of Spring Training, too," said Cora. "Using the interpreter to go out there and go over signs and all that stuff, which I thought it was a great job by Christian just to make sure we're on the same page. So it was a positive today."

Renfroe shows off arm
has always been known for his power bat, but one of the reasons the Red Sox signed him is because they know he is an underrated defender.

Renfroe showed off his arm in Monday's game, making a tremendous throw to get Randy Arozarena going first to third in the bottom of the first.

"Yeah, he understands where he has to be," said Cora. "He knows the hitters. He knows who's on the mound. He makes decisions as it goes, and that was a great throw, trying to get the runner at third instead of throwing to the plate. If he goes to the plate, they score, and probably men at second and third, so he managed the game pretty well and he got rewarded."

Up next
The Red Sox send righty to the mound for Tuesday's road game against the Braves. Richards threw a simulated game for his last start to stay in line in the rotation. Colten Brewer, Phillips Valdez and Kevin McCarthy, three pitchers who are competing for a spot in Boston's bullpen, will all see action. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.