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The Boston Globe

Sports

Red Sox send Bradley to Pawtucket, call up Betts

Jackie Bradley Jr. has played excellent defense all season, but was only hitting .216.

AP

Jackie Bradley Jr. has played excellent defense all season, but was only hitting .216.

The Red Sox stayed with Jackie Bradley Jr. when he went 17 days and 35 at-bats without a hit. But on Monday, a day after he continued a recent stretch of success at the plate, the rookie center fielder was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket.

The Red Sox recalled Mookie Betts to take Bradley’s place on the roster.

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Bradley had reached base in eight of his last 20 plate appearances, going 5 of 16 with two walks and a hit by pitch. He also had two RBIs, a stolen base, and three runs during those five games.

Bradley was 2 for 3 with a walk against the Houston Astros Sunday.

The brief hot streak did little to mitigate what has been a season-long struggle for Bradley. He has hit .216 with a .288 on-base percentage and .290 slugging percentage over 112 games. Bradley has struck out 111 times with only 31 walks. He has one home run.

Of the 153 qualified hitters in the majors, Bradley has the lowest slugging percentage. Only two hitters have a lower OPS.

Bradley’s biggest contribution has come in the field, where he statistically ranks as the best outfielder in the game. That has enabled him to compile a 1.5 WAR, which ranks fifth on the team.

For Betts, this could finally represent an opportunity to play regularly in the majors. The 21-year-old was called up twice earlier this season, spending a total of 21 games on the active roster. But Betts started only 11 of those games and had 44 plate appearances.

Betts has been a terror in the minor leagues, hitting .346 with a .960 OPS in 99 games for Pawtucket and Double A Portland. He has 11 homers, 65 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases in 40 attempts.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.
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