In a season gone badly awry, the Red Sox can draw some optimism from first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who has hit five home runs in his first nine major league games. It’s exciting for an organization when a rookie arrives and makes an immediate impact.
But it can be a mirage, too.
Michael Chavis hit .279 with a .903 OPS, 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in his first 34 games last season. He was quotable, colorful and his home runs were usually moonshots.
The only question at the time was where he fit best defensively.
Chavis has since hit .234 with a .661 OPS, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs over 90 games. He has two home runs this season, the last on Aug. 5.
Chavis also has struck out 40 times in 105 plate appearances and his .267 on-base percentage is the lowest on the team among the 13 players with at least 50 plate appearances.
The question now is if Chavis fits at all as the Sox try to build a contending team.
Chavis, an optimist by nature, said he is learning a lot and feels like it’s been a productive season.
“I don’t really know if there’s an ideal plan for when you get to the big leagues,” he said. “Just the fact that I’m here is pretty amazing. When I come to the field, I feel privileged to be here.”
Chavis could potentially become a helpful utility player. He has experience at first, second and third base and on Tuesday played his first game in left field. But that has to start with better results at the plate.
“A lot of that goes to pitch selection in my at-bats,” Chavis said. "I feel like my approach and my mental state has been a lot better lately and that directly correlates to on-base percentage.
“When I’m swinging at a bunch of pitches out of the zone, I’m just trying to do too much and trying to create results instead of letting them come to me.”
Chavis acknowledged that not being in the lineup every day has hurt his production because he usually faces similar pitchers when he does play.
Nate Eovaldi threw two simulated innings in the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia during Wednesday’s day off before the team traveled to Florida.
The righthander, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 because of a strained right calf, could get activated off the disabled list against Tampa Bay this weekend unless it’s determined he needs another side session.
Darwinzon Hernandez, who went on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 30, isn’t ready to return but has been throwing and the plan is for him to pitch again at some point this season.
Hernandez has a sprained SC joint in his shoulder.
Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the Sox officially firing president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. They are 23-40 since. Through Tuesday, only the Angels, Pirates, Rangers and Royals have been worse over that same time . . . Lefthander Mike Kickham is the scheduled starter Thursday in Tampa. It would be his first start in the majors since July 1, 2013 when he was with the Giants. Kickham, 31, has pitched twice in relief and allowed two runs over five innings. He would be the 14th starter used over 45 games . . . Catcher Deivy Grullon, the extra player in Tuesday’s doubleheader, was returned to the taxi squad. He caught the second game and was 1 for 3 with a walk and a run batted in. Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who didn’t play Tuesday because of a bruised hand, is expected to be available on Thursday . . . The Sox are 1-5 against the Rays this season and been outscored by 19 runs.