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Notes: Peraza optioned; prospects looming

@IanMBrowne
September 10, 2020

When the Red Sox signed José Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal in December, the idea was that he would be the team’s starting second baseman. Well, that didn’t work out. And on Thursday, with an eye toward looking at other players down the stretch, Peraza was optioned to

When the Red Sox signed José Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal in December, the idea was that he would be the team’s starting second baseman.

Well, that didn’t work out. And on Thursday, with an eye toward looking at other players down the stretch, Peraza was optioned to the club's alternate training site in Pawtucket, R.I.

After a promising Opening Night, when Peraza went 4-for-4 with two doubles, his bat went nearly silent the rest of the way.

In 34 games, the 26-year-old had a disappointing line of .225/.275/.342, with one homer and eight RBIs.

At the time the Sox signed Peraza, they were hoping he could rediscover his form from 2018, when he had 14 homers and 23 steals for the Reds. Instead, he continued the regression that started last season, the one that prompted Cincinnati to non-tender him after he posted a .239/.285/.346 line with six homers in 141 games.

“Yeah, he was pretty good in the first Spring Training, good in the second Spring Training, swinging the bat and playing good defense,” said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. “Started off OK, and lately, just hasn’t swung the bat like we’d hoped. I think a lot of that, too, is where we are in the standings -- we’d like to see some of the younger guys.”

Yairo Muñoz and Christian Arroyo are two players Roenicke looks forward to seeing more of down the stretch. Muñoz went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Rays, while Arroyo went 2-for-4 with a run scored. And with No. 3 prospect Bobby Dalbec on a power surge -- he homered for a fifth straight game the series-opening victory -- since getting called up to be the starting first baseman, Michael Chavis will see time at second base and also see more time in left field.

The Red Sox could also give prospect C.J. Chatham -- ranked No. 14 in the system by MLB Pipeline -- a callup from the alternate site at some point before the season ends. It is less likely that Boston will promote No. 1 prospect Jeter Downs, the infielder acquired as part of the Mookie Betts-David Price trade last offseason.

Second base has been a position of complete uncertainty these last three seasons, during which veteran Dustin Pedroia has been out with a left knee injury that will probably prevent him from ever playing again.

“I mean, Pedey used to joke about it a lot, too, when I came up,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “He had a lot of shortstops pretty much that he was playing with, a lot of guys that played here, so he had to kind of learn on the fly how they turn double plays and where they like it and stuff like that. I feel like this is my turn going though it. Obviously, it’s a challenge that I’m willing to learn. These guys, they’re all different players, they all throw the ball different, they all field the ball different.”

In addition to sending Peraza down, the Sox also placed righty reliever Austin Brice on the injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a right lat strain. The corresponding moves were righties Dylan Covey and Robert Stock being recalled from the alternate site.

Houck could get a look
Roenicke has hinted at giving opportunities to more pitching prospects in the coming weeks, and righty Tanner Houck could be next on the list.

Houck, the club's No. 10 prospect, is one of five players on the taxi squad with the Red Sox on this road trip. After playing four games at Tropicana Field, Boston will go to Miami for a three-game series against the Marlins.

“I think, if things go kind of as planned, there is an opportunity,” said Roenicke. “Like I said, we plan these things out. So those opportunities may come up and we’re hopeful that they will.”

Houck, a first-round selection by the Red Sox in the 2017 MLB Draft, went 8-6 with a 4.01 ERA last season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. At the alternate training site, his main mission has been to improve his approach against left-handed hitters.

Eovaldi turns corner
Righty Nathan Eovaldi, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 21 due to a right calf strain, finally cleared a hurdle in his bullpen session on Wednesday’s off-day. That hurdle was simply throwing without feeling any discomfort in his leg.

There’s a chance that Eovaldi will start on Saturday, though it would likely just be two innings or so. If not, look for him to make his comeback in Miami next week.

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