Boston ready to give Mookie a chance in right

Boston ready to give Mookie a chance in right

BALTIMORE -- When the Red Sox go to Toronto for a three-game series that starts Friday, Mookie Betts will play right field for the first time this season.

Betts has been used exclusively as a center fielder in 2015, and has played the position well. But Jackie Bradley Jr. is also a top-notch center fielder and the Red Sox are trying to determine how to best align their outfield going forward.

Over the last couple of weeks, Rusney Castillo has made a smooth transition to left field, and looks primed to hold down that spot for Boston in 2016.

So now the only question is how to align Bradley and Betts.

Bradley has mainly played right field of late, but got the nod in center on Wednesday as Betts had the night off.

"We all know Jackie is comfortable in center," said interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Jackie is comfortable no matter where you put him."

So what type of things are the Red Sox trying to evaluate with Betts when he plays in right?

"We're probably looking at Mookie's first steps, Mookie's coverage, his reads," said Lovullo. "It's more about Mookie in the situation of being a right fielder than it is Jackie being a center fielder. We feel fine about arm strength. Everybody is concerned about the right fielder's arm strength. We know that Mookie has really improved in that area. That's not really going to be an issue for me.

"I think it's mostly about his first-step reads and gaining ground on the ball. And you can see what he's doing in center field. We look for that to be the same in right field."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.