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With Betts gone, Red Sox fill holes in OF and at leadoff


With Betts gone, Red Sox fill holes in OF and at leadoff

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Win. Dance. Delete.

When the Boston Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the eve of spring coaching, they broke up the “kil-ler B’s” who patrolled the Fenway outfield and led the workforce to a World Series championship in 2018.

Together, Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi shaped the most effective outfields in baseball and have become fan favorites by following spectacular catches with their choreographed “Win, Dance, Repeat” postgame celebrations. Now, because the Red Sox study to reside with out Betts, his former fellow outfielders are figuring issues out with their new associate, Alex Verdugo, who got here to Boston within the commerce that ship the 2018 AL MVP and pitcher David Price to the Dodgers.

“It’s one of those things where you have to get to know the person and see him play, hands-on,” Bradley stated this week. “Sometimes individuals simply have that pure connection. It may very well be one thing that’s simply seamless.

“As long as you’re able to talk,” he stated. “That’s what communication’s all about. If you have great communication, then less bad things happen.”



Betts, Bradley and Benintendi had been the most effective outfields in franchise historical past and the very best homegrown trio since Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans. All nonetheless of their 20s, followers pictured them robbing hitters of homers for years.

But with Betts incomes $27 million this season and the Red Sox making an attempt to shed wage, they traded him to the Dodgers together with David Price and half of the $96 million remaining on the 2012 AL Cy Young winner’s contract. In return, they obtained outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects.

Verdugo, 23, batted .294 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs final yr earlier than a again harm in August ended his season early. The Red Sox acknowledged this week that he won’t be able to open the season.

“He’s going through things and we’ll see where we’re at,” supervisor Ron Roenicke stated on Friday.

Also this week, the Red Sox rached a pending cope with outfielder Kevin Pillar, who spent six-plus seasons with Toronto earlier than taking part in in San Francisco most of final yr. He is a profession .261 hitter with 76 homers and 318 RBIs who can also be recognized for excellent vary within the outfield.

Pillar can also be a right-handed batter, giving Roenicke some flexibility within the batting lineup; Betts, Benintendi and Verdugo are all lefties.

“He knows how to play the game,” Roenicke stated. “I wasn’t real comfortable when he came to the plate. In big situations, I thought he gave them a nice at-bat.”

Pillar arrived within the spring coaching clubhouse on Friday with a Blue Jays tools bag. He stated a short whats up to some teammates, together with Benintendi and Mitch Moreland, then disappeared to finish the bodily that was the final hurdle earlier than his deal turned official.

“He’s going to be able to help the team win,” Bradley stated. “He can play the game at a high level and can help a ballclub on both sides of the ball. So I have the ultimate respect for him.”

The roster shuffling may additionally imply a promotion within the batting order for Benintendi. Betts spent most of his time in Boston because the leadoff hitter, though Benintendi did bat first in 48 video games final season. He hit .256 with a .355 on-base proportion, and batted .119 with only one extra-base hit as the primary hitter within the recreation.

Benintendi stated the issue wasn’t the No. 1 spot.

“I was going through a little slump when I was the leadoff spot. So, obviously there’s a lot of things being said about me hitting leadoff,” he stated with a chuckle. “It’s just like any other spot in the lineup. You just have to hit first in the first inning. But other than that, it’s the same. And I don’t mind it at all. If I need to do it, I’ll do it.”

Roenicke stated he was open to giving Benintendi one other shot.

“Bennie certainly can do it,” he stated, additionally including that Verdugo was a risk. “I think we’ll have to see. You know, we have a couple of new players, so we’ll see where they fit in.”

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More AP MLB protection: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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