Xander Bogaerts and Eric Hosmer are both back in the Red Sox’ lineup for Tuesday’s contest against the Rays at Fenway Park.
Bogaerts has missed each of Boston’s last two games due to back tightness. He will be batting third and starting at shortstop on Tuesday. Hosmer was activated from the injured list on Monday after missing the last six weeks with low back inflammation. He will be batting seventh and starting at first base in place of Triston Casas.
Hosmer, who was originally placed on the 10-day injured list on August 21, was unable to go out on a rehab assignment since the minor-league season is already over. The 32-year-old instead spent his weekend at Fenway hitting off a high-tech pitching simulator.
“We’ve got this machine down there, it’s like a simulator or whatever,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Sunday. “What comes out is pretty similar to the stuff [of MLB pitchers]. You put, for example, Gerrit Cole, and the machine actually calibers the stuff based on his last start. So he’s been facing some good big-league pitching the past few days.”
Since being acquired from the Padres at the trade deadline, Hosmer has been limited to just 12 games with the Sox. The left-handed hitter has batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts across 45 plate appearances.
Bogaerts, meanwhile, felt his back tighten up on him when he tried to hit in the batting cage prior to Monday’s 4-3 win over Tampa Bay. As a result, he was scratched from the lineup but is back in there for the penultimate game of the season.
In his last nine games dating back to September 22, Bogaerts has gone 4-for-33 (.121) at the plate, likely putting him out of contention for the American League batting title. Still, the 30-year-old infielder is expected to become a free-agent this winter if he exercises the opt-out clause in his contract, so these could very well be his last few days playing in a Red Sox uniform.
Speaking of pending free-agents, Nathan Eovaldi is on the mound for his final start of the season. Connor Wong will be catching the right-hander while batting out of the nine-hole. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up as they go up against Rays lefty Jeffrey Springs to start things out on Tuesday:
1. LF Tommy Pham
2. 3B Rafael Devers
3. SS Xander Bogaerts
4. RF Alex Verdugo
5. DH J.D. Martinez
6. CF Kiké Hernández
7. 1B Eric Hosmer
8. 2B Christian Arroyo
9. C Connor Wong
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Eric Hosmer: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)