Newly signed Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez figures to spend most of his time at designated hitter, though the team is planning how to set up its outfield when he does factor in as a defender. “At home he’ll play left field and if somehow he plays somewhere on the road here, he’ll play right field,” manager Alex Cora told Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald and other reporters Saturday. Cora went on to reveal that right fielder Mookie Betts could move to center during road games in which Martinez plays the field. Of course, it’s unclear how often this will come up for Boston, which already has an excellent outfield trio of Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. (center) and Andrew Benintendi (left). Unlike those three, Martinez has struggled of late in the field, where he has posted minus-27 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-24.9 Ultimate Zone Rating since 2016.
More from the East Coast…
- Mets shortstop Amed Rosario exited their game Saturday with left knee irritation, but it seems he dodged a serious injury, Tim Healey of Newsday relays. Both manager Mickey Callaway and Rosario indicated afterward that pulling the 22-year-old was merely a precautionary measure. Relatively minor injuries have been the story early this spring for the Mets, who have seen a few key players (including Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares) deal with various issues. The team as a whole trudged through a disastrous, injury-plagued campaign in 2017, during which the highly touted Rosario debuted with a .248/.271/.394 showing across 170 plate appearances.
- Like his new team, Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went through a season to forget in 2017. Back problems limited the then-Dodger to 252 PAs and a .242/.287/.355 batting line. Despite his recent struggles and his age (he’ll be 36 in May), Gonzalez said he drew interest from other teams and had “secure options” before signing a low-cost deal with the Mets in January, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Gonzalez is the Mets’ top first base choice for now, but if he gets off to a slow start, that might not last for long, Sherman notes. In the event Gonzalez doesn’t rebound, the Mets could shift outfielder Jay Bruce to first once Michael Conforto comes back from shoulder surgery. Bruce hasn’t worked at first this spring, though, and he doesn’t believe he’d be be adept at the position without getting more practice there. “I believe I can be a quality first baseman,” Bruce said. “Do I think I am right now? Absolutely not.”
- Last season didn’t unfold as hoped for Phillies outfield prospect Mickey Moniak, who struggled to a .236/.284/.341 line in 509 Single-A plate appearances a year after going No. 1 in the draft. Moniak has plummeted in prospect rankings as a result (MLB.com dropped him from 19th to 88th, for example), though the 19-year-old isn’t sweating it. Rather, Moniak told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday, “I’m actually grateful for last season, because it’s the first time in my life that I had to bear down after struggling for a while.” As for his prospect luster somewhat wearing off, Moniak declared: “I’m kind of happy about that. Leading up to the draft, people didn’t buy into what I was as a baseball player, and right now, people aren’t fully sold on me, so I’m definitely using that as fuel. I’m excited for this year.” The Phillies are exercising patience with Moniak, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen, who points out that he was among the youngest players in his league last season.