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Could Chavis play outfield? 'You never know'

Holt: 'I'm feeling good,' injury updates
@IanMBrowne
May 8, 2019

BALTIMORE – Given his hot start at the plate, it doesn’t appear that top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis will go back to the Minor Leagues, even when Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia return from the injured list. To keep Chavis around in order to keep utilizing his big bat,

BALTIMORE – Given his hot start at the plate, it doesn’t appear that top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis will go back to the Minor Leagues, even when Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia return from the injured list.

To keep Chavis around in order to keep utilizing his big bat, there’s at least a chance he will learn to play the outfield.

Chavis already plays first, second and third. By learning the outfield as well, he could be a super-utility player.

In recent days in Baltimore, Chavis has been standing in the outfield during bating practice. Red Sox manager Alex Cora elaborated.

“I’ve been telling him to go with [first-base coach Tom Goodwin] during batting practice and just stand there just to see the flight of the ball,” said Cora. “You never know. There’s a lot of people coming back healthy. Obviously we have to look for options. It’s nothing that he’s working at, but it will be good just for him to stand there and see the flight of the ball. He’s never done it before.”

Chavis, Boston’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has been a game-changer since his call-up. In his first 71 career plate appearances entering Wednesday’s game, Chavis slashed .293/.423/.638 with six homers and 13 RBIs.

The right-handed hitter has the four longest home runs the Red Sox have hit this season, according to Statcast.

He has mainly been playing second base in place of Pedroia, who is currently on a Minor League rehab assignment for Double-A Portland.

“At second, he’s done a good job,” Cora said. “He can play first, he can play third, obviously we’ve got the DH spot. He’s been swinging the bat well. That’s something we can’t ignore. He’s been putting up good at-bats. The more options the better. I’m not going to say he’s going to start working there, but at least [seeing] the flight of the ball is a start.”

Holt close to latest rehab assignment

When Holt’s young son Griffin scratched him in the right eye in the hours leading up to Opening Day, the veteran never could have guessed it would lead to an absence of over a month on the active roster.

Holt played through the scratched cornea at first, but when he started the season 1-for-16 and was having trouble picking up the spin of the ball, he was placed on the injured list.

A Minor League rehab assignment was short-lived, as Holt needed to get a special contact lens to improve his sight. Once that worked, he started another Minor League rehab assignment. Only this time, he had a right shoulder impingement and again had to cut it short.

Finally, Holt is feeling healthy and getting ready to go back on a rehab assignment, perhaps by this weekend.

“I’m feeling good. First time I’ve been able to say that in a while. First it was the eyeball, and then the shoulder kind of creeped in there while I was dealing with that,” Holt said. “Once the eye healed, we thought we could go out and DH for a few games and get the shoulder feeling right and be able to play. It just wasn’t working out that way so I had to come back and get a shot in the shoulder.

“Everything feels good now. The last four or five days, I’ve been building it up and throwing. No pain or anything like that. I’m looking forward to going out on my third rehab assignment and hopefully the third time is a charm.”

Injury updates

• Lefty David Price (tendinitis in left elbow) played catch off flat ground for the second straight day. It continues to look like Price’s stint on the IL will be minimal. In fact, Cora doesn’t anticipate that Price will need to make a Minors rehab assignment. There’s a chance Price could be back in the rotation by next week’s home series against the Rockies, when he’s first eligible.

• After not playing for Portland on Tuesday due to wet grounds, Pedroia was back in the lineup on Wednesday. He was scheduled to play seven innings at second base. Pedroia will DH in Thursday’s day game, which starts at 11 a.m. ET.

• Lefty Brian Johnson, who is coming back from elbow inflammation, also continues to take strides. The Red Sox will decide on Friday if Johnson will start a Minors rehab assignment this weekend. Otherwise, he will throw another simulated game.

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