Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers strained his hamstring legging out a bunt single in the first inning Saturday. How does his DL stint impact the team?
Rafael Devers looked like he was warming up again. In his last two games he had 3 hits in 9 PA including a single, a double, and a game tying home run in the 9th inning on Friday. He also walked once in that span. That’s a .375/.444/.875 triple slash and a welcome sign given his tepid season to date. But any progress he was making will have to be put on hold as he is headed for the disabled list for a strained hamstring. The injury occurred in the first inning of Saturday night’s game against the Twins while legging out a single on a bunt.
While the severity of the injury isn’t yet known, the fact that they immediately put him on the DL suggests it’s not a mild aggravation. That doesn’t mean he’ll need more than the minimum 10 days, but a day or two of rest was apparently not going to be enough. It’s possible that with 5.5 game lead on the Yankees for the division, they simply opted to play it safe and make sure he gets fully healthy before returning to the field. But it’s also possible that this will take more than the minimum number of days to recover from.
What will the Red Sox do in the meantime?
With a limited number of resources and more obvious needs in the bullpen and at second base, a trade for a replacement seems unlikely. At the very least, we can probably rule out an acquisition of a new third baseman before the July 31st deadline. If they come to the conclusion that they need one, it will likely be during the waiver period in August. That gives them time to see how Devers is progressing, at the very least. So what is the team to do?
In the immediate future, some outside the box thinking. Catcher, first baseman and occasional outfielder Blake Swihart is about to add a new skill to his resume. The former top catching prospect in baseball will man the hot corner in today’s game, making a start at the third base bag for the first time in his professional career. He made his first appearance as a third baseman on June 23 in the 8th inning when he replaced Devers during a 7-2 loss. The Red Sox were down 7-0 at the time. Swihart has struggled at the plate this season, managing just a 57 wRC+. But he has looked better with consistent playing time lately. Since July 10 he is hitting .350/.435/.600 with 1 HR, 2 2B, and 3 BB. Tzu-Wei Lin has been recalled to fill the vacated 25-man roster spot.
Can the Red Sox weather this latest injury without making a trade? Will Swihart take to third base well? Let us know what you think in the comments!