NEW YORK — That Jonathan Arauz started at second base in Friday night’s 10-3 loss to the Yankees was a nod of recognition to the 22-year-old rookie from Panama that his improvement in recent weeks hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.
It also was an acknowledgement that the Red Sox understand their season is almost certainly beyond redemption at this point, so why not give Arauz more playing time?
The Red Sox picked Arauz in the Rule 5 Draft in December and were impressed with what they saw of him in spring training.
“He did a nice job defensively,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He has good hands; you could see that his arm was good. Everything he has allows you to think he’ll do well except for experience.”
Before the Red Sox gave him a chance, Arauz had played five years in the Houston organization, getting as far as Double A but not meriting a spot on the 40-man roster.
After going hitless in his first 10 a-bats with the Sox, the switch-hitter is 9 of 16 with a double and four RBIs. He was 1 for 3 on Friday. Opponents will adjust, but Arauz has potential as a hitter.
“He’s really confident and he’s very talented,” Roenicke said. “He’s got good hands. He catches up with a good fastball.”
Holding on to a Rule 5 pick this season requires him being on the active roster for 50 days. Otherwise the player would have to be offered back to his former organization.
With rosters expanded to 28, the Red Sox shouldn’t have a problem doing that, barring injury. Arauz had a rough day defensively in Thursday’s 17-8 loss against the Rays. But he was back out there Friday.
“You want to see how he reacts when things don’t go well,” Roenicke said.
Arauz made a diving stop behind second base in the first inning on Friday night to save a run for Colten Brewer.
Arauz is the first Panamanian on the Red Sox roster since outfielder Ben Oglivie (1971-73).
Judge to IL
The Red Sox won’t have to deal with Aaron Judge this weekend. He was placed on the injured list with what manager Aaron Boone termed a mild strain of the right half. The move was retroactive to Wednesday.
The Yankees also are without perpetually injured Giancarlo Stanton, who has a strained left hamstring.
“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players, so obviously that’s a blow,” Boone said.
The Yankees recalled infielder Thairo Estrada.
Cast of characters
Brewer was the 10th starting pitcher the Red Sox have used this season, the most in the majors. And that’s without playing any doubleheaders. Through Thursday, the major league average was 6.7 discounting the five games the Cardinals have been limited to … Nate Eovaldi will start Saturday on an extra day of rest. The righthander threw only 22 innings in his first four starts but the Sox are trying to be careful with him. Eovaldi has a 1.95 earned run average in eight career appearances against the Yankees, five of them starts. He has not faced them since Aug. 2, 2019 …According to Elias Sports, Kevin Plawecki on Thursday became the first Red Sox player to catch and pitch in the same game … Friday marked the 56th start Xander Bogaerts had made at the current Yankee Stadium, matching J.J. Hardy for the most by a visiting shortstop … Infielder Christian Arroyo, who was claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Thursday, has not yet joined the team. He first has to clear intake testing. Arroyo is out of minor league options, so once he is cleared, the Sox will have to make a roster move to keep him.