NEW YORK -- Christian Arroyo has earned his playing time this season, so manager Alex Cora got creative by putting him at first base -- a position he had never played -- for Sunday night’s game against the Yankees.
But the experiment proved to be short-lived when Arroyo suffered a left hamstring strain when he did a split across the bag to pull in a throw by Kiké Hernández on a fielder’s choice grounder by Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom of the third.
Arroyo had a tough time getting up and then hobbled back to the dugout and was replaced by Bobby Dalbec in an eventual 9-1 loss to the Yankees.
It seems inevitable Arroyo is headed for his third IL stint of the season.
“It's most likely an IL thing. He just felt it when he stretched. It's a hard one, because we felt he was ready for us to play first but he stretches and that happens,” said Cora. “It's a tough one for him, but we'll bounce back.”
Danny Santana, who is coming back from a left quad strain, will likely be activated Monday and take Arroyo’s spot on the roster.
With No. 3 prospect Jarren Duran settling in as the center fielder against righties, Hernández has moved to second base, where Arroyo had been getting most of his playing time.
Arroyo has been solid all season for the Red Sox and Cora didn’t want him to get lost in the shuffle -- hence, putting him at first on Sunday.
“Good athlete. Good defender. We're comfortable,” said Cora. “He's earned his playing time, let's put it that way. He's putting good at-bats, he's hitting good pitching, and he deserves to start. He's comfortable with it, I'm comfortable with it, so we'll go from there.”
For Sunday’s game, that left rookie Dalbec (.219/.262/.405, 10 homers) out of the starting lineup against Yankees righty Jameson Taillon.
Had Arroyo not been injured, it seemed like he was going to settle into a role that could see him play second base against lefties and first against some righties.
For his debut at first, Arroyo used a glove that Dalbec has used in games that Christian Vázquez is actually the owner of. The glove has “Vázquez” stitched into it.“
“I’ve got to wait until Wilson sends me one, but yeah, this will be fun. It’s exciting,” Arroyo said before the game.
When was the last time Arroyo played first in any type of game setting?
“I played Summer Camp last year when I was with Cleveland just like for one of the [intrasquad] games but that’s obviously a controlled setting,” said Arroyo.
Unfortunately, his first real stint at the position didn’t last very long. Perhaps Arroyo will get another shot when he’s healthy enough to return.