Red Sox, with need at 1B, bring back Shaw

August 15th, 2021

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are bringing an old friend back for the stretch run.

On Sunday, Boston claimed left-handed hitter off waivers from the Brewers.

Shaw gives the Red Sox a left-handed bat -- and, more important, a veteran with experience at first base.

Though rookie right-handed slugger Bobby Dalbec has heated up of late, Boston has lacked production at first base for most of the season.

Shaw is expected to join the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium for Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader. It’s unclear if he will be activated at that point, or if the Minor League rehab assignment he was in the middle of with Milwaukee will be continued.

With Shaw in the fold, Boston might pull the plug on the idea of using recent acquisition Kyle Schwarber at first base. Schwarber has never played the position.

Thus far, the Red Sox have used Schwarber at DH. He is also expected to play some left field.

A ninth-round selection by the Red Sox in the 2011 Draft, Shaw hasn’t played since June 9 due to a dislocated left shoulder. His stint on the 60-day injured list expired on Monday, but the Brewers extended his Minor League rehab assignment rather than activating him. He will have to be activated by Aug. 29.

“We’re going to use him the right way,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “I think he gives us more weapons to maneuver over nine innings. We can pinch-hit, we can platoon, we can do a lot of things with him. I’m looking forward to seeing him and starting to work with him.”

In 56 games for the Brewers before the injury, Shaw struggled at the plate, slashing .191/.279/.337 with six homers and 28 RBIs. However, Shaw has been known as a streaky hitter throughout his career, and the Red Sox hope to get him hot down the stretch.

“He’s been here before,” Cora said. “It gives us a quality at-bat from the left side. I don’t know about the numbers. I know the kid.”

Cora knew Shaw, literally, when he was a kid. Cora played for the Dodgers from 1998-2004, and reliever Jeff Shaw -- Travis' father -- was his teammate for four seasons.

“I saw Travis running around in the clubhouse in L.A. I was actually at one point throughout this, I was like, ‘Aw, hopefully this doesn’t happen, that I manage a teammate’s kid.’ It happened,” said Cora. “When I found out, I was like, ‘Wow.’ It makes you feel old. He’s a good kid. He’s a good guy.”

Shaw started his Major League career with the Red Sox and played for the club in 2015-16, producing a line of .251/.312/.442 with 29 homers and 107 RBIs in 210 games.

He was traded to the Brewers for Tyler Thornburg on Dec. 6, 2016.

That wound up being an unfortunate trade for the Red Sox. Thornburg was mostly injured and didn’t pitch well when he was healthy. Shaw, meanwhile, belted 30-plus homers in 2017 and '18 for Milwaukee.

Shaw has played most of his time in the Majors at third base, making 478 starts there. But with star slugger Rafael Devers manning that position for Boston, manager Alex Cora isn’t likely to use him much at that spot.

The 31-year-old Shaw has made 94 career starts at first base and 36 at second.