BOSTON - Make of this what you will, but Andrew Benintendi is shifting from center field to left field for the Double-A Portland SeaDogs Friday night.
Benintendi had been playing center at Portland and the Sox are set in center for the foreseeable future with Jackie Bradley Jr, and in right with Mookie Betts.
But left field is less settled, with Chris Young, Brock Holt and Blake Swihart all getting playing time there this season. Currently, both Young (hamstring) and Swihart (ankle) are on the DL and nowhere close to returning.
The Red Sox' first-round selection out of Arkansas in June of 2015, Benintendi earlier this season dominated at Single A Salem and has continued to hit well in Portland, with a slash line of .277/.342/.475 with six homers and 31 RBI in 54 games.
Some may wonder whether that's a precursor to having Benintendi up in Boston before long, though manager John Farrell cautioned against making any such conclusions.
"I'm aware of position changes, aware of the potential estimated timeline of arrival,'' allowed Farrell. "Again, the player's going to determine when he's most ready. But as we've seen with a number of guys, we haven't been hesitant to move them around the field and change positions.
"So with Andrew going to left, we are looking down the road a little ways. When that day comes when he's a left fielder in Boston -- remains to be seen. But the way he's swung the bat, the way he's advanced for this year, you start to prepare for that eventual day.''
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, when asked about the prospect of jumping a young player from Double A straight to the major leagues without stopping at Triple A, said he's done it before and would do it again under the right circumstances.
Holt is, for now, the mostly-everyday left fielder, with some occasional playing time going to Bryce Brentz against left-handers. Holt has a slash line of .265/.335/.429.
"I'm more than happy to have Brock in left field,'' said Farrell. "We don't miss out on his versatility with Michael Martinez [who can play infield and outfield], so we're covered in terms of versatility and being able to make in-game decisions or moves, depending on what's needed.
"The way Brock has adapted to left field, the way he plays it in here in Fenway in particular, in addition to the quality at-bats...it speaks volumes about the record (29-11) we have [when he's in the starting lineup]. That's not just because of him, but there's something to it.''
In a perfect world, the Red Sox might prefer Holt to return to a super-utility role, filling in at all three outfield spots and in the infield.
"He's excelled in moving around,'' conceded Farrell. "But we're fortunate to have a really good player that has proven to be successful whether he's playing left field every day or we're moving him around. I don't know if we're a better team if he's being more versatile; the fact that he's in the lineup is the biggest thing.''