NEW YORK — Manager John Farrell said after Friday night’s 6-0 loss against the Yankees that the Red Sox were not planning any roster moves. But the desperate team changed course overnight and summoned 21-year-old Mookie Betts from Triple A Pawtucket.
Betts was drafted and developed as a second baseman but was shifted to the outfield this season. He has played 29 games in center and right field and presumably will be in the outfield on Saturday night against Yankees ace Mashiro Tanaka.
Betts has played only 77 games above Single A ball, a shockingly rapid rise through the system. He hit .345 with a .957 OPS for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season. Betts had 48 RBIs and 29 stolen bases in those 77 games.
Betts was a fifth-round draft pick in 2011 out of Overton High in Brentwood, Tenn.
The 36-44 Red Sox have the third-worst record in the American League and hope Betts will spark an offense that is averaging only 3.8 runs.
It’s unusual for the Red Sox to promote a position player this quickly. Dustin Pedroia played 228 games in Double A and Triple A before his promotion and Jacoby Ellsbury played 154.
The Red Sox put Jackie Bradley Jr. on the Opening Day roster in 2013 after he played only 61 games at Portland. He was 3 for 31 in 12 games before being demoted.
Bradley played 80 games at Pawtucket last season and was again on the Opening Day roster this season. He has hit .209 so far.
The Red Sox tried to help their offense in May with the signing of free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. He has hit .135 with one RBI in 15 games. That moved shifted shortstop Xander Bogaerts to third base, where he has hit .153 over 22 games.
News of Betts’ promotion was first reported by the Boston Herald.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.