The Red Sox have finally begun to make some changes. Now sitting in the AL East’s cellar at 13-17, the Red Sox have massively failed expectations in recent weeks, with the total failure of the starting pitching alongside embarrassingly untimely hitting leading to a 7-15 record in the team’s last 22 games. The Red Sox first began to shake things up by firing pitching coach Juan Nieves on Thursday and the cleaning-house process continues today as Boston will option struggling outfielder Allen Craig to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Craig, acquired from the Cardinals in the John Lackey trade, has scuffled mightily since joining the Red Sox. In 52 games in Boston between last season and this year, Craig has slashed a horrific .134/.241/.197, striking out 30.9% of the time. Ever since sustaining a broken Lisfranc bone in his foot in September of 2013, Craig has looked utterly lost at the plate and despite appearing fully healthy, he has never regained his pre-injury form.
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Though nothing is official yet, the corresponding move is likely to be the promotion of defensive wizard Jackie Bradley Jr. In 24 games with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, Bradley has hit .343/.393/.465. Bradley has blamed the meddling Red Sox coaching staff on his struggles last season and has performed admirably after returning to his former stance this season, posting numbers significantly better than last season’s .198/.265/.266 line in major league action.
With Shane Victorino still on the disabled list, Bradley will likely serve as a temporary starter in right field. The Red Sox will receive a chance to observe his new, improved style of hitting and, of course, it’s always a joy to watch the 25 year old’s exploits in the outfield.
Though it’s hard to imagine that the demotion to Pawtucket will inspire some confidence in Craig, it’s likely the best move for both Craig and the team. A chance to receive regular playing time might help Craig regain his rhythm and the Red Sox will not be forced to accommodate his anemic bat on the 25-man roster. Perhaps he’ll be able to return to form and make a remarkable comeback; however, there’s an equally likely chance that this is the end of Craig’s career with the Red Sox. Either way, expect more changes to the Red Sox in the coming weeks, with this probably serving as the beginning of a string of transactions.