Going into Monday night, Red Sox infielder Jonathan Arauz was 0-for-9 at the plate to begin his major-league career and had only made two starts for his new club.
That all changed in the first of four against the Rays at Fenway Park though, as the recently-turned 22-year-old got the start at third base in place of Rafael Devers, collected three hits in four at-bats, and drove in a pair of runs.
The third and final hit of Arauz’s breakout night was without a doubt the biggest, when with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, the Panama native laced a two-run single to left-center field off Rays reliever Jose Alvarado to cut his side’s deficit to just one run at 8-7.
Boston may have gone on to lose to Tampa Bay in disappointing fashion on Monday, but Sox manager Ron Roenicke couldn’t help but be impressed with what he saw from the young infielder.
“With him, I tell you, he continues to not act like he’s out of A-ball,” Roenicke said of Arauz during his postgame media availability. “He’s calm, he’s good from both sides of the plate, does a great job, made a nice play defensively. He’s doing a great job.”
Prior to being selected by Boston in last December’s Rule 5 draft from the Astros’ organization, Arauz had played in 406 minor-league games since originally signing with the Phillies back in August 2014. Only 28 of those games, or 7%, had been above the Single-A level.
Because he was taken in the major-league portion of last year’s Rule 5 draft, Arauz has to stay up with the Red Sox for the remainder of the 2020 season. If that’s not possible, the club would have to offer him back to Houston.
Of course, the roster flexibility the truncated 2020 season has created has certainly be useful to the Red Sox seeing how they can carry 28 players for the rest of the year. But, as The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier notes, Arauz has “certainly shown enough in his all-around abilities to suggest that he might have stayed up regardless of the expanded roster.”
With Devers likely to miss a second straight day due to a sore left ankle, it will be interesting to see if the switch-hitting Arauz is back in the Sox’ lineup on Tuesday.
Even with the performance he put together on Monday though, Arauz would have liked to see things go differently for his side.
“Obviously, my goal today was just to help the team win,” he said through team translator Bryan Almonte. “Three hits is good to have, but I wish we would have gotten the win instead.”
We will see if the Red Sox can bounce back against the Rays on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN+ and WEEI.