Brief break benefits Benintendi, Boston

Sitting 2 games after tough July, rookie responds with 3-hit night

Brief break benefits Benintendi, Boston

BOSTON -- If Andrew Benintendi looked recharged Thursday night, it's because he was.

The Red Sox left fielder sprayed the ball all over Fenway Park's outfield grass, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI single in Boston's 9-5 win over the White Sox.

The rookie had been a notable absence on the lineup card Monday and Tuesday against Cleveland, and with Wednesday's finale against the Indians postponed due to rain, it had been three days without Benintendi in the starting lineup.

With health not being an issue, Red Sox manager John Farrell says the decision came down to helping a young player get his swing back. The 23-year old Benintendi is coming off of a July where he hit .222 and hadn't gotten an extra-base hit in 50 straight plate appearances.

"It might be just a short opportunity to clear his mind and get a little refreshed," Farrell said. "He had a very good night in terms of getting on base. He swung the bat good, drove some balls off the wall … but I think just for any player, and maybe a little bit more for a younger guy where things might start to build a little bit on him, is to get a little bit of a breather. The work has been consistent, but maybe a couple days to clear his head."

Ramirez's RBI infield single

The hitting drought ended quickly Thursday, with Benintendi driving a ground-rule double into center field in the first and another two-bagger in the fourth.

Thanks to a hit-by-pitch in the second and a walk in the seventh, Benintendi reached base five times.

He says the positive effect the time off had was noticeable from the jump.

"It's allowed me to focus on the little things and just get back to my approach and my routine," Benintendi said. "My legs got a little rest, so that helps."

Often for a rookie with Benintendi's prowess at the plate, the unknown quantity they posses leads to early success. But as time goes on, teams start to figure out how to properly combat that player, which is why Farrell thought a quick rest period was needed.

"There were some attack plans against him that he'd be looking at a certain area and they'd go to another area," Farrell said. "He was caught in between a little bit. Just to eliminate some of that thought, and trust our hands, and just get back into the flow of things. He jumped right back [after] three days down with the night offensively that he did have."

Benintendi's RBI single

Time off also gave Benintendi a chance to do some extra studying.

"There's a book on me and I'm trying to figure out what it is," he said. "It's both ways, though. I have a scouting report on the pitcher. It's kind of a game like that. It just goes back and forth. It's always going to be changing. You've just got to adjust."

"There's a lot more information up here than there is in the Minors. With the video and the hot and cold zones… it's a huge difference."

While he is still young in age, the rookie has shown a veteran-like mentality when dealing with the low points. In a 162-game season, there's just not enough time to be down on oneself.

"It's a hard game," Benintendi said. "When you put pressure on yourself and make it harder than it is, I think that's when you struggle. Those three days I just kind of stepped back, took a breather and refocused."

Evan Chronis is a reporter for based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.