After missing a week due to mild concussion-like symptoms, Xander Bogaerts is ready to return to action with the Boston Red Sox.
The young shortstop was struck in the head by a Felix Hernandez fastball last Saturday and Bogaerts was almost immediately placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Since then, however, he has passed all tests regarding his concussion and he recently told reporters that he has not experienced any headaches since his initial injury. Bogaerts has been cleared by doctors to resume all baseball activities and he is expected to be in the lineup tonight in Tampa Bay.
Now that he’s fully healthy, Bogaerts will need to turn his full attention toward reviving what has been a rough season at the plate. The 21-year old former stud prospect got off to a great start to the season but has slowed considerably since June and is now slashing a meager .223/.293/.333 in 118 games for the Red Sox. However, a strong finish at the plate could go a long way towards giving him some much-needed confidence with which he could rebound next season and deliver on his tremendous potential.
Even if he is unable to finish well in 2014, though, Bogaerts is still an important piece of Boston’s future. At just 21 years old, it’s only natural that he has gone through some growing pains in his first full season at the Major League level and those pains should diminish in the coming seasons. Bogaerts is still considered the shortstop of the future for the Red Sox and we’ll be able to see him contend for that title again at 7:00 tonight.