Red Sox

Drellich: Dombrowski’s uncertainty at third base makes need for trade clear

Drellich: Dombrowski’s uncertainty at third base makes need for trade clear

BOSTON — Dave Dombrowski is uncertain now about Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero, about whether they’re different players than what they showed for years in the minor leagues: little offensive production. The Red Sox president of baseball operations is encouraged, but he’s unsure.

“I don’t know that answer,” Dombrowski said. “I mean it’s got a chance to be, from what I have seen. But you never know that.”

What’s difficult to believe is that two weeks of good play until the non-waiver trade deadline will leave him feeling more certain. 

So, maybe Dombrowski is playing it cool when he says he’s open to an upgrade at third base while not naming it as a clear need. Maybe he doesn’t want to overplay his hand to potential trade partners.

“I'd say it doesn't make it a point where you're so aggressively pursuing the position,” Dombrowski said of Lin and Marrero. “But I would also say, just like anything else, we're open-minded to getting better at any spot we can. So if somebody becomes available that makes sense for us with the acquisition price… there are not a lot of those positions on our team I don't think, but if that does happen, we're open-minded to it.”

Dombrowski has been around long enough to understand track records. If anything, this is an executive who values certainty and proven commodities. Veterans and stars.

That’s not what he has at third base in the wake of Pablo Sandoval’s departure, not even close. It's the clearest position of need on the team where Dombrowski already traded away a piece who is thriving, Travis Shaw.

Tzu-Wei Lin’s career average in the minors is .241. His OPS is .638. Deven Marrero’s a career .216 hitter in the minors with a .578 OPS.

What about the majors, you say?

Well, Lin has continued on the improvement he showed this year at Double-A and is hitting .333 with a .871 OPS. Not bad — but it’s just 15 games in the majors.

Marrero’s playing the heck out of third base, but he’s hitting .225 with a .615 OPS.

“Over a short time period — Lin, this year, took a tremendous leap forward, starting in spring training,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not really sure what he did, he’s stronger, there’s no question to that. He wasn’t even a big league invite, although he probably should have been.

“He always caught our eye. … He drove the ball, which really, we never saw him do before. He continued to do that at Portland for us. He’s continued to do it here. He looks like a very good player right here. He doesn’t seem intimidated whatsoever.”

“We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen this year. Could I be so, predict that will continue to happen? I don’t know, but he’s got a nice swing, he looks like he’s got a pulse.”

You think Dombrowski really wants to enter August saying to himself, “I don’t know” about third base? He needs to find a player where he can say the opposite — with as much confidence as anyone ever can in a game of uncertainty, anyway.

Marrero, for as great as he looks defensively, has not taken a significant leap forward offensively, and Dombrowski acknowledged that.

“Marrero’s case is a little bit different [than Lin’s],” Dombrowski said. “He’s worked very hard, he really was not having a good offensive year at Triple-A whatsoever, and he hasn’t had a good offensive year. He’s worked very hard with [hitting coach Chili Davis] on some things with his mechanics. He’s taken some additional breaking balls off the pitching machine, he hasn’t been chasing that quite as much. 

“Before I came down here, I was waiting in the coaches room … and was talking, Chili happened to walk in and we were just talking about the very fact, it’s like, well, we’ve been very encouraged by what we’ve seen. Hopefully, they keep it up. And we’ll see, you turn the page right away today. They’ve had four days off. A lot of times the second half of the season, hopefully, people continue to do things that they’ve done well. We’ve got big games right off the bat. And so, I think you have a chance to observe too while we’re here.”

He can observe all he wants. Two weeks won’t bring certainty. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll bring increased trade value for one or both players.

Yawkey Way renaming approved unanimously

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File Photo

Yawkey Way renaming approved unanimously

The City of Boston's Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved the petition to rename Yawkey Way Thursday. 

The street on which Fenway Park is located had been named after late Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey in 1977. His history of racism led current owner John Henry to say he was in favor of the street being renamed. 

The street will be renamed Jersey Street, which was the street's name prior to its 1977 renaming.  

Mookie Betts hits 2 HRs to power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Blue Jays

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Mookie Betts hits 2 HRs to power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Blue Jays

TORONTO -- After six home runs in his last seven games, it seems Mookie Betts' isn't impressing his teammates anymore.

"We don't care about Mookie, we care about the Bruins," Hanley Ramirez joked in the locker room after Betts' latest offensive outburst helped the Boston Red Sox snap their season-high three-game losing streak with a 4-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Betts homered twice and drove in three runs as the Red Sox improved to 6-1 in one-run games and got their 18th win of the season, tying the franchise record for victories before May 1.

While the Red Sox outfielder has reached base in each of his last 19 games against the Blue Jays, he said he feels he is starting to tap into the power side of his game.

"I think so. A lot of learning with the new hitting [coaches], and with [new teammate] J.D. [Martinez], just putting things together," he said. "Actually learning how to use my strength versus going off ability."

Betts got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with leadoff homer in the first -- his third such shot of the season and 14th of his career --over the left-field fence. He then put the Red Sox in front for good in the seventh, taking reliever Danny Barnes (1-1) deep over the right-field wall for his eighth homer of the season, a two-run shot that also drove in Brock Holt.

Alex Cora said it is games like this that has Betts keeping the very best of company in the major leagues.

"They're special," the Red Sox manager said. "The Trouts, the Altuves, the more at-bats they get the better you feel about it,"

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 106 pitches.

One night after giving up a walk-off home run to Curtis Granderson, closer Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Though Boston has now won all of Rodriguez's four starts this season, after the recent losing skid, the left-hander was more than happy to give credit to the guy who jump-started the offense.

"We needed something like that, somebody to get us in front and do it like he did it today," he said.

However, Yangervis Solarte wasn't handing out much credit after the game. The third baseman's sixth home run of the season into the second deck of left field in the sixth inning gave Toronto its only lead of the game at 3-2.

"I think [Rodriguez] got lucky a couple of times and we didn't take advantage of it," he said. "I think we made the adjustment a little bit. But I think he got lucky more than us getting beat."

Aaron Sanchez lasted six innings for the Blue Jays, giving up just three hits and two runs, while striking out a season-high eight.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts might be in the Boston lineup Friday, but lost his chance for another rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket's game rained out on Wednesday and the team off Thursday. Manager Alex Cora said Bogaerts would visit the doctor before making a determination on his availability. He has been out since fracturing his ankle on April 8.

Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson should be ready to begin a rehab assignment later this week, according to manager John Gibbons. The former AL MVP has been out since April 10 with right shoulder inflammation. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki has been cleared to begin light baseball activities, according to a team spokesperson. Tulowitzki, currently on the 60-day DL after having bone spurs removed from both feet during spring training, will be monitored and re-evaluated after four weeks.

OUTRIGHT THIEVERY

With steals of both second and third base in the seventh inning by Andrew Benitendi, the Red Sox have now converted 20 of their last 20 stolen-base attempts against Toronto.

NOT O-K?

The Red Sox struck out 10 times and has now done so in each of their last four games, after reaching that mark just two in their first 19 contests.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Just missing leading off the bottom of the first with a home run, Steve Pearce instead decided to make a play for second as the ball caromed off the left-field wall. But with left fielder Benitendi making a good, one-hop throw to second, only a nifty hook slide around the tag of Eduardo Nunez prevented the out.

A FOUR-GONE CONCLUSION?

Despite posting a 13-0 record when plating four or more runs, the Blue Jays dropped to 1-9 when scoring less than four.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86) takes the mound for the series finale looking to improve on his 4-1 record with a 0.96 ERA in seven appearances in Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32) is looking for his first win against the Red Sox since June 5, 2016, after going 0-1 against them in four starts last season.

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