Boston Red Sox get lucky with Andrew Benintendi injury
The Boston Red Sox can consider themselves fortunate that the knee injury to Andrew Benintendi didn’t turn out to be as bad as it looked.
Andrew Benintendi can breathe a sigh of relief after getting the tests back on his injured knee.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder twisted the knee awkwardly attempting to scamper back to second base on a ground ball that turned into a rally-killing double-play Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Our initial reaction was to assume the worst as Benintendi was helped off the field, in part due to the team’s steady string of misfortunes in left field.
Luckily the injury isn’t as bad as it looked. After undergoing a number of tests on Friday, Benintendi has been diagnosed with a sprained left knee. No structural damage was found and the Red Sox are hopeful that the 22-year old will make it back on the field at some point this season.
"“When you think back and look at the video, this could have been much, much worse,” manager John Farrell told reporters on Friday, per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “Lucky that the ACL is not involved, so we’re still optimistic that he can return this season.”"
Benintendi has been played on the 15-day disabled list and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to return when first eligible, but it’s certainly a good sign that he was seen walking around without the aid of crutches. He is wearing a small brace to help stabilize the knee, but it hasn’t hindered him from being able to stay on his feet. Consider that a fortunate outcome, considering how bad it looked at the time.
"“I am definitely fortunate,” Benintendi said on Friday. “It looked a lot worse than it actually was. I feel pretty lucky.”"
A more significant injury had the potential to derail a very promising start to the young phenom’s career. After making the jump straight from Double-A, Benintendi has thrived to the tune of a .324/.365/.485 slash line to go along with a home run and 10 RBI in 21 games for the Red Sox. He has also provided value with his glove, recently making one of the best defensive plays you’ll ever see to rob the Rays of a home run down in Tampa.
"“It’s tough,” said Benintendi. “I’ve only been up here for three weeks and I’d rather be out there playing obviously, taking fly balls during BP and playing, but it’s part of the game and unfortunate that it happened.”"
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Benintendi won’t be eligible to return until after rosters expand in September, so it will be easy enough to fit him back on the roster when he’s ready to be activated.
In the meantime, the Red Sox will rely primarily on Chris Young to handle left field duties, with Brock Holt occasionally spelling him in his super-utility role. Relying on a platoon player like Young on an everyday basis isn’t something the team wants to count on for long.
The 32-year old has crushed left-handed pitching this season, hitting .347 with a 1.082 OPS in 49 at-bats against southpaws. He’s found far less success against right-handers, who have limited him to a .230 average and .709 OPS. Young’s track record strongly suggests that it’s unwise to start him unless there is a lefty on the mound, but until roster’s expand next month the Red Sox aren’t left with many alternatives.
Next: Buchholz back to the bullpen
Getting Benintendi back will solve that problem. We still don’t know for certain exactly when that will be, but the good news is that we can now feel confident that he will be back this season.