Xander Bogaerts makes his return to the Red Sox
Tonight’s the night, my friends! Baseball is back at Fenway Park, and though it’s an exhibition game for the Red Sox, this will be our first chance to see the full squad in 2020. The Blue Jays have made their way to Boston but they’ll be running into an offensive juggernaut. And the man leading that powerhouse offense is Xander Bogaerts, but it wasn’t certain if he’d play tonight.
During Sunday’s intrasquad game the shortstop left the game shortly after his first at-bat due to tweaking his hamstring. The injury never felt severe enough that it could cost the dynamo any playing time, but we all know how that kind of thing evolves. Hell, it felt like for the longest time all we heard about Chris Sale was that he needed rest. I’d like to order one Tommy John Surgery with a side of year-long rehab.
Back to the matter at hand and that’s the return of Bogey to the Red Sox lineup. He didn’t participate in yesterday’s intrasquad though he did work out once the game was done. After visiting with the medical staff it was deemed that he should be good to go tonight, and sure enough, he’s in the lineup.
“He came out but I was going to take him out,” Roenicke said after the scrimmage. “His hamstring bothered him a little bit on one of the swings. I don’t think it’s an issue.”
Though we’ve gotten to see some action via the intrasquad games, tonight will be the first real taste of baseball in 2020 for Boston. With Opening Day coming quickly on Friday, these exhibition games against the Jays are going to be incredibly important. Not only is it a chance for the players to see pitchers that aren’t there own, but it’ll give them that adrenaline boost only live-action can bring.
For Bogaerts, tonight kicks off his run as the unnamed captain of this team. No player has adorned the “C,” on their chest since Jason Varitek, with Dustin Pedroia probably being the closest. As it stands now, with his tenure and leadership capabilities, Bogey may as well be Boston’s 19th captain in franchise history.
This season will prove massive for his career and in the career of several of his teammates. Big names have left Boston, leaving the rest of the unit to step up and claim their spots in the league’s standings.
There wasn’t much to be happy about in 2019 with Eduardo Rodriguez, Brandon Workman, Rafael Devers, and Bogey being the few high spots. Not to forget the amazing seasons by Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis, but 2019 was an absolute mess.
When the news broke on Sunday that Xander was dealing with a funky hamstring I instantly began to tremble. 2020 is already going to be one hell of a mountain to climb, we can’t do it without one of our best players. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke was quick to dispel any worries last night and made it clear that he would be good to go for tonight.
“He’s fine,” Roenicke said. “Most of the regulars, like I mentioned last night, are off today. He’s coming in and seeing the trainers but they expect him to be fine for tomorrow.”
Like I mentioned above, Bogey is coming off of an absolute career campaign and is going to be a major component in the Red Sox succeeding in 2020. Just take a look at those sweet sweet stats: .309/.384/.555/.939/33/117.
He would also become one half of the only tandem in MLB history to hit at least 30 homers and 50 doubles with Devers. Boston’s left side of the infield may be the best infield one-two punch in the league. Yeah, I said it! His teammates and coaches will be looking for him to repeat that kind of performance, and with only 60 games with to work, he could set some serious marks in the stat department.
“He’s driving the ball still and hitting some really sharp line drives,” Roenicke said. “He’s patient. I’m pretty happy with where he is. With all the guys who are swinging the bat well, I would put him in with all those guys.”
That’s an awesome vote of confidence from the skipper and one that Xander should be very happy with. There are a lot of veterans on this team but none have seen the success that he has, especially while in a Red Sox uniform. Though this won’t be a full 162-game campaign for him to show what he’s capable of, he can more than set the bar pretty damn high. With the hamstring feeling good and his name back on the lineup card, look for Xander Bogaerts to make some noise tonight.