Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is dealing with back tightness and is therefore out of the starting lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Rays at Fenway Park.
Bogaerts, who also missed Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays in Toronto, is expected to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and become a free-agent this winter. Because of that, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was planning on starting the 30-year-old in all three games with Tampa Bay to close out the season.
While that plan has since been scrapped, Cora is optimistic that Bogaerts will be back in the lineup on both Tuesday and Wednesday. As noted by MLB.com’s Ian Browne, the veteran infielder has been bothered by his back in recent weeks but has still been able to play for the most part. He previously told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo that he prefers taking off days on the road because he feels like he owes it to the fans to be in the lineup at home.
“I just like playing at home,” Bogaerts said back in June. “It’s been like that throughout my career. There’s a lot of kids that go there to the park. If there would be one stadium where there’s a lot of Bogaerts jerseys, you’d probably say it’s Fenway. The other places, they’re on the road.”
Bogaerts is putting the finishing touches on another fine season with Boston. The right-handed hitter is currently batting .305/.376/.450 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 69 RBIs, 83 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 117 strikeouts over 148 games (625 plate appearances). He came into play Monday trailing the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.315) and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (.311) in the race for the American League batting title.
With Bogaerts out of the lineup on Monday, Enrique Hernandez is starting at shortstop in his place.
(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)