Red Sox rookie unfazed by hitting cleanup, but understands work involved
By Patrick Donnelly
Special to MLB.com |
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rookies don't usually do what Andrew Benintendi has been doing so far in his brief Major League career. Yet few in the Red Sox clubhouse are making a big deal about it -- least of all, Benintendi himself.
Boston's first-round pick in the 2015 Draft debuted late last season and quickly made himself a fixture in Boston's lineup, starting all three postseason games in left field and locking down one of the team's three outfield spots for the foreseeable future.
Benintendi batted cleanup on Saturday for the first time in his young career. He responded with a double and two singles, a run scored and two RBIs as the Red Sox rolled over the Twins, 11-1.
Benintendi kept it going in the same spot Sunday with a two-run homer in his first at-bat vs. Minnesota starter Ervin Santana. He added a double in the eighth, stole third and scored on Mitch Moreland's single off lefty Taylor Rogers, as Boston pulled away to win, 17-6. Clearly, the young outfielder isn't at all fazed by hitting fourth.
"I approach it the same as any other spot in the lineup," said Benintendi. "I'm not going to change my approach or anything, so it was pretty easy."
But while remaining unflappable, Benintendi understands the work he has to do to stay on top of his game.
"I'm still learning, still seeing new pitchers, so I feel like once I get to see everybody, I'll feel more comfortable and know how they'll pitch me," Benintendi said. "I'm just kind of taking it all in now, still."
Manager John Farrell clearly is comfortable putting his prized rookie in tough spots, because he's seen how Benintendi has answered regardless of what's been asked of him.
"[Saturday] is just one example, but whether it's first exposure in the postseason to a year removed from a college campus to playing in the big leagues, all these things have been handled in stride," Farrell said. "So that's a uniqueness in itself. But the talent speaks for itself."
Holt returns to action
Brock Holt resumed his Minor League rehab assignment on Saturday, going 1-for-3 as the designated hitter in a game for Double-A Portland. Holt has been on the disabled list since April 21 with vertigo. He began his rehab at Triple-A Pawtucket on April 28, but he had to shut it down after three games when his symptoms returned. Saturday's result was much more promising, according to Farrell.
"He felt good. He felt like the quality of at-bats was there," Farrell said. "He felt like he was balanced and focused, the view of pitches was solid."
Holt will return to Pawtucket and serve as the designated hitter in Monday's game before getting back in the field.
Bradley gets another day off
A day after hitting two home runs, Chris Young found himself back in the lineup Sunday in place of Jackie Bradley Jr., who's batting just .140/.213/.209 in 12 games since returning to the lineup on April 21 after missing 10 games with a right knee injury.
"It's a little bit of a momentum play here, and another day of work for Jackie," Farrell said. "What he's going through is no different from what other players go through from time to time. You back off a little bit, you give them a little bit of a breather, give them a chance to work on some things, maybe slow the game down a little bit at times and insert them back in with a little bit more of a freshened outlook."
Farrell added that he expects Bradley to be back in the lineup on Tuesday at Milwaukee.
Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis who covered the Red Sox on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.