In his very first start for the Red Sox, newcomer Taylor Motter has been tasked with leading off against the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon.
Motter, who turns 32 later this month, has appeared in two games for the Sox — both as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement — since being claimed off waivers from the Rockies on Thursday and subsequently being added to the major-league roster on Saturday.
For his major-league career, which dates back to 2016, the right-handed hitter has batted leadoff on just two separate occasions, both of which came during his rookie season with the Rays five years ago.
The Red Sox will be facing off against left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to kick off a three-game series against the division-leading Rays on Monday. Motter is a lifetime .197/.275/.283 hitter when matched up against southpaw.
Prior to joining the Sox last week, the versatile 31-year-old had enjoyed a productive season at the plate with Triple-A Albuquerque before having his contract selected by the Rockies in early August.
In 67 games with the Isotopes, Motter slashed an impressive .335/.460/.759 slash line to go along with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, 54 runs scored, 49 walks, and 49 strikeouts across 265 total trips to the plate. That includes going 25-for-60 (.417) against lefties.
“Just get a pitch, hit it in the air and give us a lead,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) when asked about his decision to bat Motter leadoff. “He put two good at-bats yesterday. He was having a great season in Triple A. I was watching video. I think his swing should play against Yarbrough. … He might get three at-bats against the lefty, give us a boost and get us going.”
Through his first two games with Boston, Motter is 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored, though he made a nice play at second base on Sunday in addition to getting picked off at first base in the seventh inning of an 11-5 loss to the Indians.
Motter will be getting the start at second base in Monday’s series opener against Tampa Bay. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind him, as they will be looking to improve to 5-0 in games ace left-hander Chris Sale starts.
First pitch Monday (Labor Day) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.
(Picture of Taylor Motter: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)