Mookie Betts will shift to second base given the injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Mookie Betts to play second down stretch as Brock Holt sent to concussion specialist

September 11, 2014 - 6:33 pm
Dustin Pedroia is out for the rest of the year. Brock Holt, after the persistence of symptoms (nausea and light-headedness) that were initially viewed as the flue, is now on his way to see a concussion specialist. And so, with second base in flux, Mookie Betts will move back to second base, the position where he'd spent nearly all of his professional career until this May when the Sox had him transition to the outfield. The Sox had initially resisted the idea of moving Betts back to second based on their desire to give him consistent exposure to his new position. But that commitment was based on the expectation that Holt would be the everyday second baseman. With Holt sidelined, the team viewed moving Betts to second as a chance to get regular playing time in center for Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo. Manager John Farrell said that Betts, who took grounders with infield coach Brian Butterfield prior to Thursday's game, could get a start at second as soon as Friday. "With Pedey being done for the remainder of the year, we'll look to get Mookie at second base going forward," Farrell told reporters. "With Castillo coming, center field would be shared by Jackie and Rusney. ... It's based on the changes that have taken place to the roster. It was unforeseen. At the time, when Pedey went down, Brock was going to get the remainder of the reps at second, but with that being in question, this is a chance to keep Mookie on the field every day and get Jackie and Rusney on the field as well." Despite the fact that Betts will play second base to give the team an opportunity to offer playing time to Bradley and Castillo, Farrell said the Sox have not altered their outlook of the 21-year-old as someone who can patrol the outfield. "We still see him as an outfielder," Farrell told reporters. "To his credit, he's in the midst of transitioning to center field not only at a rapid place and doing it at the highest level but handling it well." As for Holt, he collided with Pedroia on Aug. 25 in a 10-inning win over the Blue Jays. Initially, he tested negative for a concussion, but what had been viewed as flu-like symptoms (nausea and dizziness) persisted in a fashion that led the Sox to send the do-everything 26-year-old to concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh.

"He was showing some signs of improvement over the last couple days, still some of the light headedness and dizziness has not cleared up. We have sent him to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Collins, a concussion specialist, just to take every precaution necessary," manager John Farrell told reporters. "When he and Dustin collided in Toronto, he didn'€™t complain of anything in the moment, the tests that are conducted on everyone after some impact was negative. He played regularly from that point. When he came out of the game in Boston [last week], at the time we thought it was consistent with the illness, but the illness that he and his wife were dealing with, once that subsided some of the symptoms remained and we'€™re going to take every precaution necessary."

The net result is an unexpected outcome, but one that should help the Sox relieve something of a logjam in the outfield, where Betts, Bradley, Castillo, Allen Craig, Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Nava would have otherwise been squeezed into three spots.