Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, who has submitted Gold Glove-caliber defense but struggled mightily at the plate for the bulk of the 2014 season, was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket this afternoon. The Red Sox recalled 21-year old phenom Mookie Betts in his place.
Though Bradley leads all Major League outfielders in assists and double-plays, he has slashed .218/.288/.290 in 348 at-bats. Bradley has also struck out 111 times and recently endured a 35-at-bat hitless streak.
Betts, a natural second baseman, converted to the outfield in 2014. He has hit well over .300 and gotten on-base more than 40% of the time the past two seasons at Greenville, Portland and Pawtucket, popping 26 homers and stealing 71 bases (against 11 times caught) during the same span.
With rosters due to expand September 1st, it is logical to assume Red Sox fans will see Bradley again at that time. However, Tony Massarotti speculated on 98.5 The Sports Hub this afternoon that the 24-year old is done in Boston after showing little of the plate discipline and hitting acumen at the Major League level that he was known for in the minors. With Betts already in the system and the Red Sox in the hunt for Cuban star Rusney Castillo as they seek to return to the top of the American League next spring, it is certainly questionable whether the Red Sox prefer to have such a hole in their lineup, even if Bradley offsets his offensive deficiencies by plugging holes in the Fenway outfield.