BOSTON -- Monday marked the third straight day Jackie Bradley Jr. was not in the starting lineup for the Red Sox. While the first two weren’t surprising because Boston was facing lefty starters, this one was eye-opening on a night the Phillies had righty Zach Elfin on the mound to start.
“Jackie’s [right] wrist has been bothering him so that’s part of the reason why I didn’t play him yesterday and the other part was trying to get the right-handers in there. But it’s still a little sore today,” said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. “We’ll give him another day. I’m hoping that he can be in there tomorrow. But I’ll just have to wait and see how he comes out with working with the trainers today and where he ends up.”
It’s certainly possible that Bradley’s numbers in August (.194/.242/.226, no RBIs) can be attributed to the discomfort in his wrist.
“I think it certainly has some [impact],” Roenicke said. “I don’t know to what extent, but I just know that he feels it. Not all the time, but he’ll take a swing and you’ll notice he’ll kind of back off for a while and then he’ll get back in there and swing again, so at times yes, no doubt that it affects some of his swings.”
Bradley wasn’t the only banged-up player for the start of this quick two-game homestand against the Phillies.
Catcher Christian Vázquez has been dealing with a right heel injury. Vázquez excited Monday’s game against the Yankees in the seventh inning to rest his heel, and was out of the lineup on Tuesday.
“I’d like to give the day off if we can today completely,” said Roenicke. “We’ll see later on if the trainers think that he’s OK to hit. But he’s better. He told me he’s better today. He’s getting worked on also, they’ll come back and let me know what they think for the game and what they think for tomorrow.”
Hart ‘thrilled’ at second chance
Often times, a prospect struggles in his first Major League start and then goes right back to the Minors. This is not the case for Red Sox lefty Kyle Hart, who will take the ball in Wednesday afternoon’s finale despite getting hit hard last week against the Rays.
“I’m thrilled because I understand how this game works and how this business works,” Hart said. “I’m really happy to get another start and hopefully many more after tomorrow but I’m not going to put extra pressure because I pitched poorly last time. I’m certainly not going to do that. I’ve had plenty of horrible starts in my career and whether I pitch good or pitch had, my routine in the days that follow is the exact same.”
What did Hart -- a 19th-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft -- take away from his debut that might help him Wednesday?
“For me going into tomorrow, just going to try to stay on the attack and do what I do best which is get ahead and stay ahead and try to get those guys in as many defensive counts as I can,” Hart said. That’s where I’m comfortable operating and ultimately that was what I tried to do last time. Didn’t succeed at it but I’m going to stick to my game plan. Made a few tweaks with pitching coaches [Dave Bush] and [Kevin Walker] this week and I’m feeling good going into tomorrow.
In addition to discussing his upcoming start, Hart also provided a report on exciting Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran, the club’s No. 8 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline.
A left-handed hitting center fielder, Duran was electrifying both in Spring Training and in a Summer Camp cameo. Hart got a chance to compete against him at the team’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, R.I.
“Jarren is one of the most talented players that I’ve seen step on a baseball field, to put it bluntly. He’s got just about everything you would want in a baseball player and if I’m pitching, he can play behind me any day,” said Hart. “Both offensively and defensively, he’s got that youthful mindset where he doesn’t weigh himself down too much. He doesn’t put a lot of stress on a bad at-bat or a good at-bat.”
“He was hitting balls hard in Pawtucket, off me included. It was a really good at-bat every time he stepped in, whereas usually those uber-talented young guys can be easy outs sometimes. He’s not an easy out. And that’s a lefty-on-lefty matchup, too, where I should have an advantage. We had some good battles down there.
“He hit one a mile off me to dead center and I got him a couple of times. He got me a couple of other times. My kind of hot take on Jarren Duran is that he’ll be in the big leagues for a long, long time. It’s just a matter of kind of when and where he’s going to get that opportunity.”