Red Sox have discussed moving Jackie Bradley Jr. to right with Kevin Pillar in center

Nick Friar
February 14, 2020 - 1:32 pm
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Naturally, the departure of Mookie Betts first raised questions about the Red Sox offense. But, on top of losing an elite hitter, Boston lost a four-time Gold Glove award winner.

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Alex Verdugo is a solid corner outfielder with a good arm, but he may not be able to start the season on time. This played a role in Boston’s interest in Kevin Pillar — who was at Red Sox camp on Friday.

When it came to discussing Verdugo’s timeline, Ron Roenicke couldn’t provide any insight on Friday. Though, his inability to add anything on the matter does indicate the Red Sox have doubts about Verdugo’s health.

“I think he needs to go through everything with (our medical staff), and I know it’s been quite a while, so they really want to get a good feel for him,” Roenicke said. “They don’t know him, which makes a big difference. So, they’ll talk to him, figure out where we are and at what point we can start going forward with whatever. Whether it’s baseball activities, whether it’s just strength activities. I’ll know a lot more (Saturday) when I talk to you guys and try to figure out where we are.”

With there being questions surrounding the former Dodgers outfielder’s health, Pillar starting in the outfield to begin the year is realistic. Now, that could be in right field, but the Red Sox have also broached the idea of playing Pillar in center and moving Jackie Bradley Jr. to right.

“We haven’t talked about it a lot, but we did some,” Roenicke said. “Because they’re flexible. Jack is a great right fielder, too. And he’s a great center fielder, and I think Pillar can play all of them.

“(Pillar) always been known as a good defender. We know he doesn’t mind laying out, we know he doesn’t mind crashing into walls. Sometimes you have a worry when a guy does too much of that because you’ve got the injury factor. But he knows how to play. I’m not sure if the metrics on him are the same as five years ago when he was probably faster. I’m not really sure, I haven’t really checked on it. But he’s always been a good defender.”

Pillar also provides the Red Sox a right-handed bat in what has become a lefty-heavy lineup.