Following last night’s win over the Astros, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the Boston Herald that he is leaning towards playing David Ortiz at first base tonight, which means Adrian Gonzalez will make another start in right field.
“If he plays (tonight), we’re looking at 13, 14, 15 (plate appearances), and we’re in good shape,” Francona said. “I feel good about David getting through this trip.”
Ortiz is 0-for-8 on the team’s current interleague road trip. He is hitless over his last 16 at-bats dating back to June 20.
Gonzalez played right field for the second time in his major league career Wednesday night against the Phillies. It was his first time playing the position since 2005 as a member of the Rangers. Gonzalez did jump to attempt to catch a fly ball hit by Chase Utley in the bottom of the eighth, but he didn’t make any putouts. It was largely uneventful and the Red Sox will hope for something similar tonight.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.