For the first time this spring, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is set to make a Grapefruit League start.
Yes, after being sidelined with a sore left ankle since reporting to camp last month, the 27-year-old will serve as designated hitter and bat out of the three-hole for Boston against the Tigers at JetBlue Park on Wednesday.
Bogaerts initially suffered the injury while partaking in offseason workouts in his home country of Aruba back in early February, but he has progressed nicely over the past week or so.
“He’s pretty close to getting in a game,” interim manager Ron Roenicke said of Bogaerts Tuesday. “We’ll probably start him at DH. I guess he’s made a lot of progress over the last couple days.”
Lo and behold, Bogaerts is starting at DH for the Sox on Wednesday. He’ll probably get anywhere between two to three plate appearances.
And despite this setback, Bogaerts is still expected to be ready for Opening Day on March 26th.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is currently dealing with a sore left ankle, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke. The 27-year-old apparently aggravated it while going through offseason drills in his home country of Aruba last month.
“His ankle is a little bit sore,” Roenicke said of Bogaerts’ ankle. “So these couple, three days we’re probably going to go a little bit easy on him. It’s nothing alarming. But it is a little sore. So we’re going to back off on him a little bit.”
When speaking with reporters for the first time Sunday, Bogaerts echoed the same sort of sentiment, saying, “There’s no reason for us to force it [at spring training]. Just trying to make sure we get it right and when I start, I can finish.”
Entering his seventh full season in the majors, Bogaerts has emerged as an important veteran leader in the Red Sox clubhouse, and he may even be the face of the franchise now that Mookie Betts is a Dodger.
The two-time All-Star slashed .309/.384/.555 with a career-best 33 home runs and 117 RBI over 155 games last season en route to a Silver Slugger award and a top-five finish in American League MVP voting.
While obviously a bit concerning, this sore left ankle for Bogaerts does not seem to be all that worrisome. It will be interesting to see how he is holding up later next week.
Other Red Sox players on the 40-man roster that could play shortstop include Jonathan Arauz, C.J. Chatham, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Jose Peraza.