For the first time in his major or minor-league career on Sunday, Tzu-Wei Lin started a game at first base for the Red Sox in the team’s fourth intrasquad contest of Summer Camp at Fenway Park.
Hitting out of the seven-hole for the Home Sox, Lin reached base in one of his three trips to plate and held his own over at first. He even made a nice pick on the back end of a 1-4-3 inning-ending double play started by Marcus Walden.
After the game, Sox manager Ron Roenicke had high praise for Lin, saying he was “really happy” with the way the 26-year-old played first base for the first time.
“Anytime a utility man can play all positions, it increases his value,” Roenicke added. On top of that increase in value, Roenicke suggested that Lin could also serve as Boston’s extra-inning pinch runner given his speed on the basepaths.
Since making his major-league debut for the Red Sox in June 2017, the Taiwan national has seen time at second base, third base, shortstop, and center field. While with Triple-A Pawtucket last year, Lin played both corner outfield positions at well. In other words, he may just be capable of playing every position on the field besides pitcher and catcher.
The 2020 campaign will be an important one for Lin, as he is one of four players on Boston’s 40-man roster who is out of minor-league options, meaning he would have to be exposed to waivers if the Red Sox intended to send him to Pawtucket.
While dealing with a left knee sprain and concussion last season, Lin appeared in just 13 games for the Red Sox, going 4-for-20 at the plate with one double, two RBI, and three runs scored in 2019.
Given the uncertainties surrounding how the 2020 season will go in terms of COVID-19 testing, Lin could be a valuable asset to the Sox considering he can and is willing to play just about every position on the field.