WORCESTER — With the Red Sox optioning Jeter Downs to Triple-A Worcester on Thursday, the expectation is that Christian Arroyo will be activated from the COVID-19 related injured list ahead of Friday night’s series opener against the Guardians in Cleveland.
Arroyo, who is vaccinated, has been on the COVID-related IL since June 15 after testing positive for the virus in Boston. He previously tested positive for it last August and spent more than three weeks on the COVID-related IL as a result.
This time around, the 27-year-old utility man says COVID did not hit him as hard. He had one really bad day, but it was being stuck in his house due to virus-related protocols that was more frustrating than anything.
“It’s six days in my house and another week of not doing anything,” Arroyo said at Polar Park on Wednesday. “Not playing, it sucks.”
Arroyo began a rehab assignment with the WooSox on Tuesday. The right-handed hitter got into two games and went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. All three of those punchouts came while he played five innings at shortstop in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over the Charlotte Knights.
“Obviously, the results I had tonight aren’t necessarily me as a player or what I can do as a player,” said Arroyo. “But the most important thing is that I feel fine, I feel good. I try not to stress too much on the results stuff. Obviously, tonight was a tough night. But that’s baseball. You’re going to have tough nights. It is what it is.”
After dealing with a plethora of injuries — including a left hand contusion, right knee contusion, and left hamstring strain — last season, Arroyo took note of the fact that it took less time for him to get up to speed coming off his second bout with COVID.
“It was a quick turnaround for me this time,” he said. “Last year, I had some physical injuries. Hand, knee, hamstring stuff, which was a little different. It’s a little different protocol. But with the COVID stuff, it’s a lot easier this time around.”
One thing that may have helped Arroyo on his road to recovery is a tea recipe sent to him by Red Sox manager Alex Cora. As Cora, who tested positive for COVID back in April, explained to reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) last week, it’s a family recipe that consists of honey, ginger, onion, and pineapple, among other ingredients.
“It was good, it tasted good,” Arroyo said, smiling. “My wife (Jessica) made it for me and it was solid. So we’ll be using that one again.”
As Arroyo prepares to rejoin the Red Sox, he will once again be returning to his role as one of the club’s most versatile players. Prior to testing positive for COVID, he had appeared in two games at first base, six games at second base, one game at third base, eight games at shortstop, and 15 games in right field.
Arroyo had never played the outfield professionally before the 2022 season began. He has learned how to become an outfielder on the fly with the help of his teammates and bench coach, who is a former big-league outfielder himself.
“It hasn’t been bad, it’s been fine,” Arroyo said of his acclimation to the outfield. “Definitely is an adjustment. It’s a lot tougher of a position than people like Jackie Bradley Jr. make it look. But I’ve obviously got a good staff in the big-leagues. Will (Venable) has helped me out a lot, Jackie’s helped me out a lot, Kiké (Hernández) has helped me out a lot. Even talking to Dugie (Alex Verdugo), it’s been good.”
(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)