Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi not healing as desired
It’s been three weeks since we’ve seen Andrew Benintendi patrol left field for the Boston Red Sox. The defensive dynamo has been on the shelf since the middle of August with injured ribs and isn’t quite healing as the team would like. What was thought to be an injury that would keep him out of action for just a couple of weeks, has progressed to possibly becoming season-ending. It wasn’t what any player for fan wants to hear, but it’s pretty spot-on for Boston this year.
Earlier this week both Chaim Bloom and Ron Roenicke spoke about Benny’s status and where he is on his road to recovery. Neither openly said that his 2020 campaign was finished, but they weren’t exactly sunshine and rainbows either. With the Red Sox having little to no chance of postseason baseball this year, I don’t think there’s any reason to rush him back whatsoever. Let him heal properly so he can come back in the spring in top form.
“I think that’s a possibility,” Roenicke said. “I hope somewhere along the lines here, we get rid of the soreness and he’s able to progress quickly. It’s just too hard to say.”
Not only are the Red Sox without Benintendi, but as we all saw, superstar outfielder Kevin Pillar was sent to the Colorado Rockies at the Trade Deadline, leaving Boston weak in the outfield. Alex Verdugo and Jackie Bradley Jr. are still doing their thing but losing Benny and Pillar is a massive hit to one of the best outfields in the game today. As it stands, the Sox will be running a platoon of Jose Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin, and J.D. Martinez in the meantime.
It doesn’t sound ideal and honestly, it isn’t, but Boston doesn’t really have many other options. When Mitch Moreland was traded on Sunday, the team promoted longtime top prospect Bobby Dalbec to fill the void in the lineup. They have a similar scenario that could play out in the outfield as Jarren Duran has been lighting up Pawtucket and is more than ready for a shot at the big leagues.
“We’re still optimistic,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Monday. “As Ron said the other day, he’s coming along but he’s coming along slowly. Certainly, a little more slowly than we would have hoped when this originally happened.”
Everyone in the organization from Bloom and Roenicke, down to the players and fans are more than anxious to see Duran make his way to Fenway Park. The news about Benintendi this week, along with the loss of Pillar, could open the door. For Benny Biceps, I think getting shut down may be the best thing that could happen for him this year. I don’t want to kick a guy while he’s down, but he didn’t offer a damn thing to this squad in 2020.
It got to the point where Red Sox Nation was celebrating him getting infield singles as actual hits. If he was at the plate and not striking out, it was a win. Sadly, those strikeouts were coming in bunches and whenever he was in the Batter’s Box, it felt like an automatic out. I’ve always been a massive Andrew Benintendi fan and it’s been downright painful watching him play this season. Something has felt off since Opening Day and it’s hard to really figure out what exactly that misfire is.
“He doesn’t have as much pain as he did before,” Roenicke said. “It’s still there. Any rotational activity, it’s still painful. Unfortunately, this thing is slow like we thought it possibly could be, and keeping him away from doing anything with baseball activities.”
Through 14 games this year, Benny is putting up a .103/.314/.128/.442 line with one RBI, 12 walks, and 17 strikeouts. Not exactly what we’re used to seeing from the outfielder and this was going to be a big year for him with Mookie Betts out of the lineup. For the second year in a row, the Red Sox placed him in the lead-off spot and for the second year in a row, it was a massive disaster. Roenicke would then shuffle Benintendi around in the lineup giving him little to no routine as every night brought a different spot in the order.
If the Red Sox do shut him down for the remainder of the season, which with only four weeks left, makes perfect sense, it could be a blessing in disguise. An extra month of stress-free recovery and relaxation might be just what he needs to get out of his own way. Granted, it may backfire and he dwells on his poor season, even more, causing him to spiral farther, but I want to stay on the positive side of the coin.
For Andrew Benintendi, and in the grander scheme the Red Sox, 2020 has been a nightmare that won’t end. At least for the left fielder, he may get a chance to take the stress of forcing a comeback off of his chest and can take a deep breath, ribs permitting. Benny has a ridiculous ceiling and we’ve seen what he can do when he’s hitting his potential. Losing the rest of 2020 could mean big things for him in 2021, and I sure as hell hope it does.