BOSTON -- With reinforcements on the way, starting with the imminent return of Kiké Hernández -- likely Tuesday in Dunedin, Fla., against the Blue Jays -- the Red Sox are going to have some interesting roster decisions to make in the coming weeks.
If Hernández does return from his right hamstring strain on Tuesday, the first move should be pretty straightforward, as utility infielder Jonathan Araúz will likely get optioned back to Triple-A Worcester.
But when Christian Arroyo comes back from his left wrist contusion in roughly a week, things will get more interesting.
“Christian, he’s going to hit off the tee again today," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "He’ll stay back in the beginning of this road trip, he’ll go to Worcester to get treatment and then he’ll ramp up offensively. The hope is for him to start taking batting practice by Wednesday."
And then there will be an even bigger crunch when Danny Santana, who smashed 28 homers for the Rangers two years ago, has seen enough at-bats at Triple-A that he is ready to join Boston.
Santana wasn’t ready for the start of the season due to suffering a severe right foot infection in Spring Training. But he has looked strong at the plate and in the field at Worcester.
“He’s doing well, he’s playing well, moving well,” Cora said. “He stole a base, I want to say, yesterday or the night before. Hitting, he looks like, timing-wise, he’s there. He’s almost there. We’ve been moving him around all over the place.
“This is a guy, like I said, we were looking for versatility in the offseason and then he was there at the end. I think [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom] and the front office did an outstanding job recognizing players and this is a guy, it gives us another alternative, let’s see where it takes us. We feel good about where he’s at, not only physically but as a hitter and as a player.”
When Arroyo and Santana are ready for action, the Red Sox will have three options -- no pun intended -- for how to fit them on the roster.
The Sox could option infielder Michael Chavis back to Triple-A, even though he’s shown some promising flashes (two doubles and a homer) since he was called up on May 7 to replace Hernández when he went down with a strained right hamstring strain.
Chavis had an important hustle double that helped the Red Sox end an offensive slump in Thursday’s win over Oakland. But the next day, given a chance to lead off against a righty, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
On Sunday, Cora gave Chavis another chance to make an impact, putting him in the leadoff spot against Angels lefty José Quintana.
“He’s leading off today, he’s playing second,” Cora said before the series finale. “I hate to look ahead. There’s some people who are coming back from the IL, let's take it day by day. The other day, everybody was excited about him hitting a home run and hitting two doubles.
“To win a World Series, it’s more than 26 guys. You have to make moves based on your roster, and the people that you have available. Tomorrow’s an off-day. We’ll see what the future brings. The future for him is today. The future for this team is today. We’ll leave it at that.”
Option 2 would be to option left fielder Franchy Cordero, who smashed two run-scoring doubles on Saturday but has struggled mightily (.167/.222/.226) this season. By getting regular at-bats in a less pressurized environment, perhaps Cordero could gain more consistency with his swing and his approach.
Option 3 would be to option a low-leverage reliever. All season long, the Red Sox have gone with a 14-man pitching staff. It has served them well to this point, as Boston had a 3.75 ERA entering Sunday, sixth in the American League, and a big improvement over the 5.58 ERA the club finished with last season.
The presence of both Arroyo -- who was an important contributor the first few weeks of the season -- and Santana could boost the depth of one of the best offenses in the Major Leagues.
Goody is Energizer bunny
Anyone who watched some of the MLB Productions footage from the 2018 World Series run remembers that Red Sox first-base coach Tom Goodwin is one of the most energetic members of the team.
A former Major League outfielder for the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies, Giants and Cubs, Goodwin comes in every day with the enthusiasm that a team can use over the grind that is a baseball season.
How does a first-base coach provide energy?
“Honestly, I just try to stay upbeat. This game will bring you down, it’ll drag you down,” Goodwin said. “You’re making more outs than you’re getting hits from the offensive side, so guys always have to feel like they’re getting pumped up. It just helps to have a smile on your face when you’re out on the field. It helps guys if they’re going through something that you don’t even know they’re going though. It just helps to bring that type of positivity and that type of attitude.”
Goodwin is well-regarded by Cora and the entire Red Sox organization and has a good reputation around the game. Would the 52-year-old like to manage someday?
“I think anytime you’re a coach at this level, I think there’s an aspiration to do it,” Goodwin said. “I’ve learned from a lot of good managers, and I think, Alex, of course being one of the best. If you do manage, you take some of those things with you. There are a lot of things he does that you remember. If I am fortunate enough one day to run a club, those would be some of the things that would get brought in.”