BOSTON -- Just over a month ago, Pablo Sandoval was sent to the 15-day disabled list and the corresponding move was the promotion of Josh Rutledge to Boston.
Aside from bringing a halt to the Sandoval circus, Rutledge was expected to serve as the utilityman as Brock Holt continued as the everyday left fielder.
But the Red Sox have gotten more than they'd hoped from the 27-year-old infielder.
Following Sunday’s performance, Rutledge is 11-for-27 (.407) in the 16 games he played -- with five hits being doubles.
“Rut’s . . . in such a good place offensively,” John Farrell said following Sunday’s 10-9 win. “Since he’s come over last September he’s made a fundamental adjustment. He’s become a little bit more of a threat with the bat."
And -- his sixth-inning error notwithstanding -- he's still contributing with the glove, as well.
"[He] made a few defensive plays that were key [today]," said Farrell. "Up the middle particularly, on the overshift.”
Rutledge explained the change and what it’s done for him at bat.
“I moved my hands a little bit in my stance. Kind of freed up everything. It feels a lot better,” he said. “I’m seeing pitches better . . . Just [going to] keep working on it.”
And Sunday was no exception, finishing 3-for-5 with a double and three runs.
While Rutledge’s play this season has made it easier for Farrell to give a starting infielder the day off, what’s more shocking is he’s proving to be more valuable to this team than Sandoval.
When Travis Shaw won -- or Sandoval lost, depending on how you slice it -- the third-base job, the 2012 World Series MVP became Boston’s infielder off the bench. Given that he could only play third base (and not particularly well since coming to Boston) and that his bat was less than impressive, he wasn’t an ideal bench player.
Conversely, if there were such a thing as the utilityman of the year award, Rutledge would be making an early case for it.
But when asked if he expected to be where he is now, given where the season began, he made light of his early success.
“I just try to go up and have good at-bats,” Rutledge said. “You can’t really control what happens, like the first [hit] today got caught in the sun. That’s just good luck on my part. You never know what’s going to happen. You just try to go up there and get a good at-bat.”