With the recent disabled list trip of Shane Victorino, the Red Sox have been somewhat starved for outfield depth lately. As a result, the Red Sox have chosen to bring some additional outfield depth onto their 25-man roster, promoting defensive stalwart Jackie Bradley Jr. while optioning knuckleballer Steven Wright back down to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bradley, who served as the team’s starting center fielder for much of last season despite his .198/.265/.266 slash line appears to have made some positive strides at the plate. An exceptional defensive center fielder, Bradley will never need to be an offensive star to be a solid player, but he has looked good in Pawtucket thus far. In 18 games in Triple-A this season, he has slashed .315/.383/.411 and he brings a new and improved plate approach with him to Boston.
In fact, manager John Farrell spoke to reporters about Bradley’s improvement at the plate.
"He’s maintained the swing that he showed in spring training, which is back to the stroke he’s had as an amateur and in the early days of his pro career. Last year there was maybe some length added to his swing, opened up some holes. It’s more of an all-field line drive approach that he’s maintained."
With a vacancy in right because of Victorino’s injury, the Red Sox have generally played either Brock Holt or Daniel Nava out in Fenway Park’s spacious right field. However, Farrell announced that Bradley would play in a reserve role, meaning that he’ll likely only receive a handful of starts out there.
Meanwhile, Wright will head back down to Pawtucket after not making an appearance in a brief stint with the Red Sox. The Red Sox had been carrying an extra relief pitcher in recent days because of the starting rotation’s inability to push past the sixth inning. However, they will now return to a seven-man bullpen and promote Bradley.
Bradley, who offers so much potential due to his phenomenal defense, will be one of the more intriguing players to watch whenever he plays. Always capable of making a highlight-reel play, Red Sox fans will also be watching to see if he has made the necessary improvements at the plate. If so, the Red Sox may have their center fielder of the future once again.