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Brock Holt injury another wake-up call for Red Sox

Rob Bradford
July 21, 2018 - 9:18 am

The Red Sox haven't been without their roadblocks this season. Perhaps the fact that they are 39 games over .500 would suggest otherwise, but the fact of the matter is that everything hasn't gone as planned for Alex Cora's team.

Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright have given the Red Sox very little. They were certainly banking on Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting better than .210 at this point in the season. Not having Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Rodriguez for the stretch drive? Not ideal. And of course, there is the absence of Dustin Pedroia.

Now comes the Brock Holt situation.

While it is unclear the severity of Holt's right knee contusion, just the mere fact he was forced from Friday night's game after being slid into by Jeimer Candelario made the concerned look on Dave Dombrowski's face at the time understandable.

"He’s should be OK. Probably day by day," Cora told reporters after this team's 1-0 win over the Tigers. "I think he probably spiked him and that was it. No big deal."

If Holt isn't ready to contribute, Eduardo Nunez and Tzu-Wei Lin are your second base options. Nunez has been serviceable at second but seems to flourish when being moved between the position and third base. He is also the fail-safe in case Rafael Devers' shoulder doesn't bounce back. Lin has proven to be a nice player to have around but hasn't carried over his offensive success from last season to this year, managing just eight hits in 43 major league at-bats (.186). (He is also just 1-for-12 against lefties.)

With Pedroia's uncertainty, there was already whispers that the Red Sox' might be in the market for more of an everyday option at second, with the names of Kansas City's Whit Merrifield and the Mets' Asdrubal  Cabrera being thrown around. Depending on Holt's status, that is still a possibility, albeit not a likely outcome. But the more plausible scenario is eventually turning to Brandon Phillips.

Phillips is just 5-for-22 at Triple-A Pawtucket but is coming off a two-hit game Friday night. He has played a combined 38 2/3 innings in the field at second base for Single-A Lowell and the PawSox, having manned second for 20 innings in Triple-A. For the time being, it sure sounds like the Red Sox want to buy themselves some more time when it comes to the 37-year-old.

"I actually saw him play the other day. He’s catching up now," Cora told reporters prior to Friday night's game. "It’s not that easy. He didn’t play for a while and for him to go out and compete at that level, regardless, every day playing, it’s not easy. How old is he? 37? I think when he gets back into good shape, then we can see where he’s at."

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