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Moreland back; Hernandez option 'a tough one'

@IanMBrowne
July 23, 2019

BOSTON -- The activation of veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland from the injured list on Tuesday left the Red Sox with the tough move of optioning utility infielder Marco Hernandez to Triple-A Pawtucket. The left-handed hitter, aside from being a feel-good comeback story, was hitting .339 (21-for-62) since his recall

BOSTON -- The activation of veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland from the injured list on Tuesday left the Red Sox with the tough move of optioning utility infielder Marco Hernandez to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The left-handed hitter, aside from being a feel-good comeback story, was hitting .339 (21-for-62) since his recall from the Minors on June 8.

With the return of Moreland, the Red Sox felt the team was best off keeping the right-handed bats of Michael Chavis and Sam Travis rather than Hernandez, who has a similar skill set as Brock Holt.

"We didn't want to be too left-handed heavy," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "It's a tough one, because he's playing well. At the same time, we need him to keep playing. He did everything he was supposed to do, but it's a baseball decision. Roster-wise, it makes sense to keep Michael and Sam and have balance the way we're going to manage it."

Hernandez played in just 21 games in 2017 and all of '18 as he recovered from multiple surgeries on his left shoulder. He had a walk-off hit for the Sox on June 24 against the White Sox.

Moreland batted seventh Tuesday in his return to Boston's lineup for the first time since June 7. He was a pretty good force for the Sox this season before the lower back and right quad injuries popped up. In 47 games, Moreland is slugging .543 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs. He has averaged one home run per 11.62 at-bats in 2019, the best ratio of his career.

Cora will certainly have more lineup options on a daily basis with Moreland back in the fold.

Chavis was out of the lineup for a third straight day after being removed from Saturday night's game with back spasms.

"He's doing good," said Cora. "He hit today, feels good. He's going to take batting practice. He's available tonight, might start tomorrow. He's in a good spot."

Chavis had been playing just about every day since he was promoted from the Minor Leagues on April 19. His playing time against righties will likely be curtailed in the immediate future.

"We'll see. Matchups [against righties] and obviously [he will start] against lefties," Cora said. "There are certain matchups he's going to play against righties, but right now we have options. Brock is swinging the bat well. We expect Mitch to swing the bat well, too."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.