Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo likely will make the most profound impact in the 2020 season of any player the team acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, but fans might not see the 23-year-old on the field for a while.
Verdugo is dealing with a stress fracture in his back, and as a result, he's unlikely to be in the Red Sox lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays for the March 26 Opening Day game at Rogers Centre. A back injury also forced him to end his 2019 season in early September.
"It'll probably be just a little bit after Opening Day," Verdugo told a few young Red Sox fans Wednesday while signing autographs at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. When asked if he would return a couple weeks after Opening Day, Verdugo responded, "Yeah, I think a couple weeks."
Check out the exchange in the video below:
Verdugo batted .294 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI and a .342 on-base percentage in 106 games for the Dodgers last season. He was one of three players, including shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong, acquired by the Red Sox from the Dodgers in exchange for Betts and starting pitcher David Price.
WIth Verdugo not expected to be healthy for Opening Day, newly acquired Kevin Pillar likely will begin the season as the starting right fielder alongside Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr.