In terms of preparations for the upcoming, abbreviated 2020 season, Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is “probably further along than anyone,” manager Ron Roenicke told reporters earlier Monday afternoon.
That being the case because, according to Roenicke, the 24-year-old “has been on the field and hitting in the cage” under team supervision while other players have not gotten that opportunity.
Coming off a stress fracture in his lower back suffered while with the Dodgers last season, Verdugo, along with left-hander Chris Sale, had the opportunity to report back to JetBlue Park earlier than most players last month in order to continue his rehab.
Because of this, in addition to the fact that he remained in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced shutdown, the Arizona native was able to get some work in at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers.
Prior to said shutdown ordered by Major League Baseball back in March, it looked as though Verdugo would miss the first chunk of the original 2020 season due to that stress fracture.
Now, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters last week, the former Dodgers top prospect “should be all systems go” once the Red Sox report to Fenway Park for summer training camp on Wednesday.
As things stand at the moment, it looks like Verdugo could split time in right field with Kevin Pillar as he eases his way back from that back ailment.
Roenicke also mentioned that things “could change [for Verdugo] depending on how things match up with opposing teams.”
Since making his major-league debut with Los Angeles in 2017, the former second-round draft pick owns a career .273/.335/.448 slash line in 355 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, and a career .306/.333/.452 slash line in 133 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers.
The day-to-day status of Verdugo will certainly be something to monitor once training camp begins this week. As Roenicke put it, hopefuly there won’t be any setbacks and he’ll be ready to go once Opening Day 2.0 rolls around in late July.