Posted on August 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine

The promising career of Boston Red Sox rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi has hit its first setback. The Red Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day DL Thursday with a sprained knee. Benintendi suffered the injury during Wednesday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays when he tried to avoid a tag while running the bases.

After being placed on the DL Thursday, Benintendi underwent an MRI on his injured knee, although initial results of that MRI were inconclusive. He is scheduled to undergo more tests in Boston on Friday. Infielder Marco Hernandez was promoted from triple-A to take Benintendi’s place on the roster.

Benintendi reported his knee feeling “stiff” following Wednesday’s game. “I feel like the more I walk on it, the better it feels,” he said on Thursday. “I’m going to just try and stay as positive as I can.”

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Boston manager John Farrell is hopeful the injury won’t mean an end to Benintendi’s season, although the Red Sox will have to wait another day to find out after Thursday’s MRI was inconclusive. “We’ve just got to wait and see what comes out of this,” Farrell told reporters Thursday. “Then depending on the findings, what is the safest thing for Andrew to get him back on the field? Optimistically, and I say that with all sincerity, it’s still this year.”

The injury to Benintendi is just the latest in an almost unbelievable string of injuries inflicted upon Red Sox left fielders this year. Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, and Chris Young have all been called upon to man left field for the Red Sox at various points of the season, and all three have suffered injuries that sent them to the DL while trying to do so.

“It’s been kind of the Bermuda Triangle,” Farrell said. “They’re freaky injuries. Granted, this one’s a baserunning injury, but still it’s a left fielder. We’ve had a long list that have played the position. In a light-hearted moment this morning, trying to keep some levity to it all, yeah you talk about left field in that vain — a little bit of a dark hole.”

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Young returned from the DL earlier this week and should be able to take over left field until Benintendi comes back, or until he gets injured again, whichever comes first. Holt is also available to play left field if necessary, although Young, who’s hitting .274 with an .850 OPS, should get a majority of the time.

For Benintendi, the injury halts what has been a promising first month in the big leagues. In his first 21 games in the majors, Benintendi is hitting .324 with eight extra-base hits, helping him post an OPS of .850.

From Boston’s perspective, having Young to step in for the injured rookie will make it easier to survive the absence of Benintendi, even if he’s not ruled out for the remainder of the season. But there’s no denying he’s made a positive impact since making his big league debut earlier this month. Farrell would undoubtedly prefer to have both Young and Benintendi available to play left field down the stretch. In a division in which three teams are separated by one game, there’s little margin for error if the Red Sox want to win a division title. This makes the injury to Benintendi a significant loss for the Red Sox, whether he’s able to return before the end of the season or not.

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