Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi eyes return this week
Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi could return during the team’s upcoming homestand, with the last obstacle being a simulated game this week.
It looks like the Boston Red Sox are going to get a boost in the outfield down the stretch, with the return of phenom Andrew Benintendi on the horizon.
Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a knee injury sustained in an August 24 game against the Tampa Bay Rays. As we watched the 22-year old limp off the field, there was concern that the injury could threaten his season, but Benintendi has made promising progress. He was seen running the bases in Toronto this weekend, leaving one final test before he can be activated.
Manager John Farrell told reporters over the weekend that Benintendi will participate in a simulated game on Tuesday when the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
"“He’ll continue to go through baseball activity here,” said Farrell. “When we get home is when we’ll run him through some sliding. We’ll, Tuesday, likely put together a sim game that has Henry [Owens] on the mound, probably some other pitchers that haven’t been in games will be able to get some at-bats for Andrew and other guys. We’ve got a taxi squad here. We can build that out. Once we get through and get him through half a dozen at-bats at least on Tuesday, we might be in a position where we could see him on the field shortly after that.”"
Farrell went on to confirm that once Benintendi is ready to return, he’ll reclaim his spot as the primary left fielder when the team needs a left-handed bat.
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Chris Young, who has received the lion share of the opportunities with Benintendi sidelined, should continue to start when a lefty pitcher is on the mound. Young has been solid since returning from a stint of his own on the DL. He’s always been a lefty-masher and has hit a robust .333 with a 1.082 OPS against left-handed pitching this season. It’s not that the Red Sox don’t believe that the left-handed Benintendi can hit southpaws, but they signed Young to fill this specific role for a reason. Expect them to stick with that plan, which also allows them to ease in Benintendi following his recovery from a knee injury.
Benintendi has been every bit as impressive as advertised, batting .324/.365/.485 with a homer, triple and six doubles in 21 games. While he only swiped one base in his limited time in the majors, Benintendi does have the speed to be a factor on the base paths.
The early success of Benintendi led many to assume that fellow top prospect Yoan Moncada would hit the ground running just as quickly, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. Moncada looked poised to steal the third base job away from the struggling Travis Shaw, but those plans seem to have reversed after Moncada struck out in eight straight plate appearances and Shaw suddenly got hot at the plate.
Not every top prospect develops at the same pace, so it may take Moncada some time to adjust to seeing major league caliber breaking balls. Benintendi had a bit of an edge from playing at a high level in college, exposing him to better competition than Moncada had seen at a similar age.
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Regardless of how each of these young prospects develops, most everyone agrees that they both have bright futures ahead of them. With Benintendi on his way back to the big leagues, it won’t be long before we can watch the continuation of his development.