Posted on April 9, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Nothing has been able to stop the Boston Red Sox early in the season. The club has won eight straight games, leaping to the stop of the AL East standings. But they’ll soon find out if an injury to a key player is enough to slow them up. The Red Sox placed shortstop Xander Bogaerts on the 10-day DL on Monday. Bogaerts injured his ankle during Sunday’s game and is expected to be out as much as two weeks.
Bogaerts hurt his ankle in a rather unusual way. He slid in front of the visiting dugout at Fenway Park to chase down a lose ball but went down the stariwell and landed on the dugout steps. Bogaerts limped off the field and was removed from the game. An MRI performed Monday confirmed that he cracked a bone in his left ankle. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the injury is not as bad as it sounds. It’s a non-displaced fracture and won’t require surgery. Boston is hopeful that he’ll be able to return within 10 to 14 days.
“He’s been our best player to this point, so we’ll definitely miss him,” Boston utility man Brock Holt said Sunday before the team knew the extent of the injury. “Hopefully, everything turns out OK.”
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Bogaerts has indeed been Boston’s best player early in the season. Through nine games, Bogaerts is hitting .368 with two home runs and seven doubles. He has an OPS of 1.111, which leads the team at this point in the season. Bogaerts saw his numbers dip slightly last season, but he couldn’t have started 2018 any better. Key players like Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. have had slow starts to the season, but Bogaerts and Mookie Betts have helped to pick up the slack.
To replace Bogaerts on the roster, the Red Sox have called up infielder Tzu-Wei Lin. Of course, with Dustin Pedroia starting the season on the DL after offseason knee injury, Boston’s middle infield depth will be tested over the next couple of weeks. The injury also comes at a bad time with the Red Sox playing their next seven games against division opponents, including three games with the Yankees this week.
Eduardo Nunez would be the most obvious replacement for Bogaerts at shortstop. However, he’s been the team’s primary second baseman in place of Pedroia early in the season. It could make sense to play Holt at second base and slide Nunez over to shortstop. Of course, Holt is hitless in seven at-bats this season and coming off a dreadful offensive season in 2017. Lin also provides an intriguing option. He’s a natural shortstop and posted solid offensive numbers in limited action with the Red Sox last season.
Of course, no matter who Boston uses to fill-in at shortstop, they will be a huge drop off from Bogaerts. He’s one of the biggest reason why the Red Sox have won eight straight games. The team can breathe easy knowing that he’ll probably be back in a couple weeks rather than missing an extended period of time. However, with the way Bogaerts has played early in the season, two weeks without him could feel like a lifetime.