Simulated game Benintendi's final hurdle

Club's No. 2 prospect shows mobility during sliding drills

Simulated game Benintendi's final hurdle

BOSTON -- Hours before the Red Sox squared off against the Orioles on Monday, Andrew Benintendi completed one component of a final set of tasks that will green-light his return.

The rookie left fielder, who is the club's No. 2 prospect, took part in a number of sliding drills from first to second base as Red Sox manager John Farrell and team trainers stood by. Farrell said the mobility Benintendi showed on the basepaths while sporting a knee brace was encouraging.

"[Tuesday] there will be a sim game in which he'll get some at-bats," Farrell said. "But the sliding, the aggressiveness that he went about it, that was the last physical test for him to pass. So [Tuesday] we'll get him some live at-bats, and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that he'll be activated after that."

Farrell said it's unlikely that Benintendi will be activated on Tuesday, but the Red Sox will check his at-bats after the simulated game. The manager said the benefits of batting practice vary from younger athletes to veterans. Some find the extra swings more helpful than others.

"He's taken BP roughly five to six straight days. He feels good, he feels strong," said Farrell. "I think [Monday] was more of a confidence builder for him knowing that he can have an impact on the ground and not feel any residual in that knee."

Benintendi has missed 17 games since being placed on the DL with a left knee sprain, caused by an ugly slide into second in St. Petersburg on Aug. 24. A combination of Chris Young and Brock Holt have filled his spot in left field, and Farrell said their importance in the outfield will not be forgotten after Benintendi returns.

It seems a number of rookies have driven the Red Sox to first place in the American League East, Benintendi included. Once the outfielder is activated, six players on Boston's 25-man roster will be 24-years-old or younger. Farrell said the newcomer's energy blending with the veteran's savviness is a major factor for the team's success this season.

"I look at it as an exciting young player that's more than held his own in a handful of at-bats," Farrell said. "The fact that we're getting him back with 15-20 games remaining is a hell of a lot more than we anticipated when he came off the field in [St. Petersburg]."

Worth noting

• The Red Sox are hopeful Steven Wright will pitch again this season, looking to get a throwing program initiated soon. Given the limited number of regular-season games, it's unclear whether the knuckleballer will begin that program. Wright was forced to miss his last two starts with a right shoulder strain and has still not tossed or played catch.

"He's showing improvement through the range of motion and the discomfort is diminishing, but I also recognize where we are on the calendar and that's going to present a challenge here going forward," Farrell said.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.