Not even Hollywood could write a script that would have six regular outfielders all on the disabled list at the same time, but that is exactly what is happening in Boston with the Red Sox.
Cody Ross has a broken bone in his foot and while no timetable has been set for a possible return, one can’t help but think about Dustin Pedroia‘s broken bone in 2010 that cost him the rest of the season.
Ryan Sweeney has a concussion and will miss at least a week thanks to the new concussion seven-day DL. Both Sweeney and Ross join Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Jason Repko, Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald on the list of the walking wounded leaving opportunity for someone to step up and grab the spotlight in the outfield. Let’s take a look at some of the options the Red Sox have to plug their depleted lineup in right field.
Adrian Gonzalez has been the popular choice to move to right field and it’s being reinforced by the return of Kevin Youkilis. Will Middlebrooks appears to be staying with the big club creating a log jam at third base. Youk plays first quite well and if the club has any intentions of trading him he will need playing time to prove his worth. First base is an option to keep Middlebrooks in the lineup and moving Gonzo to right field helps shore up the depleted outfield. This would allow Bobby Valentine to have a lineup with all three bats in the middle of the order, further strengthening an already potent offense.
Recently acquired Scott Podsednik is the traditional option given his natural position is the outfield. His offense is limited evidenced by his .238 batting average in the minors and at 36-years of age his legs aren’t what they used to be. It’s safe to say he may get promoted based on his experience but there are younger options available.
Options such as Lars Anderson, Josh Kroeger or Juan Carlos Linares should be given consideration to patrol right field until the cavalry is mended. The most intriguing name is Linares who is currently hitting .305/.401/.492/.894 in double-A Portland so far this year and as Nick Cafardo points out in his latest mailbag edition, Linares may be the victim of being typecast and can’t seem to shake that label.
There are a few internal options that could help the Red Sox outfield, but the one that would enable the team to put out the best lineup on a daily basis is moving Gonzalez to right and Youk to first. It’s a courageous move given Gonzo’s high-priced contract and a move to the outfield elevates the risk of injury. But if the Red Sox are serious about getting back into contention in the division, this move would give them the greatest chance of doing so.
Gonzalez recently said that he will play whatever position the team needs and after watching him make a couple nice plays in Philadelphia over the weekend we may have the opportunity to further see his skills as a right fielder.