Thursday evening’s matchup against the Baltimore Orioles was the last Red Sox game at Fenway Park this season. It could also very well be the last time Jackie Bradley Jr. calls it his home.
Bradley will enter free agency after Sunday’s season finale, potentially closing the book on a marriage that began in 2011 when Bradley was selected 40th overall out of the University of South Carolina.
His eight-year big league career with the Red Sox had highs and lows right from the start. Bradley started the 2013 season on the major league roster after a monster spring training, only to be demoted to Triple A Pawtucket following a 3-for-31 (.097) start in 12 games. Bradley, streaky at the plate, was such a plus defender — arguably the greatest center fielder the Sox ever had — that he remained, for the most part, a fixture in center. And despite some of the rough bumps, Bradley still earned an All-Star appearance in 2016, and in 2018 a Gold Glove, an American League Championship Series MVP, and a World Series title.
This season, he’s had his best year at the plate, slashing .279/.353/.419 with five homers and a .772 OPS in 201 plate appearances after going 1 for 4 in a 13-1 loss.
“It’s been really good for a few weeks now,” manager Ron Roenicke said before Thursday’s game. “We know he always plays great defense and he’s going to [continue to], whether it’s here or somewhere else.”
The Red Sox said after the Aug. 31 trade deadline that they would like to have Bradley around for the future, yet Bradley said that wasn’t something intimated to him. The center fielder also noted that he would like to test the free-agent market.
If this is it for Bradley, he’s certainly left his mark.
“He’s a pretty special guy,” Roenicke said. “We’ll see what happens after this year. I’ve sure had a great experience with him, coaching him and now managing him. He goes about his business just as professionally as you can get. He’s a great guy on and off the field.”
Fenway Park will be early voting polling place on Oct. 17-18
Bostonians looking to vote early can cast their ballots at Fenway Park this year, the city of Boston and the Red Sox announced.
The city announced in a statement press release that Fenway Park was approved to be one of 21 early voting sites scattered around Boston to accommodate voters who would like to cast ballots early and avoid Election Day crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Early voting at Fenway will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, and Sunday, Oct. 18. Boston voters looking to cast ballots at Fenway should use the Gate A entrance at the corner of Jersey Street and Brookline Avenue. Masks and social distancing will be required, according to the statement.
“We are thankful to the City and the Election Commission for giving us the opportunity to open our doors to our community for this important undertaking,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said in the statement. “Voting is one of the best ways to support and champion the issues and policies we value and what better way for the Red Sox to help with that effort than to open up our ballpark for Boston residents to cast their early ballots.”
Other in-person early voting sites include City Hall, several Boston Public School buildings and library branches, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families facilities. Early voting in Massachusetts runs from Oct. 17 through Friday, Oct. 30, but dates and times vary by location. A full list of early voting sites and dates is available on the city’s website.
Still nothing on Rodriguez, Sale throws
A decision on what’s next for Eduardo Rodriguez should happen in the next couple days, Roenicke said. Rodriguez was diagnosed with myocarditis as a result of his summer bout with COVID-19, and all doctors involved in his evaluation are still consulting on what Rodriguez’s next steps will look like.Also of note, Chris Sale started a throwing program a few weeks ago. Roenicke said Sale hasn’t had any issues with his arm following Tommy John surgery in late March. Losing Rodriguez and Sale left a huge void in the Sox rotation this season, leading to much of its struggles. “Those guys that are No. 1 pitchers are vital to what you do and what you’re trying to do when you are trying to have a competitive team and go to the playoffs,” Roenicke said . . . Mookie Betts was forthcoming in a way he really hasn’t been about his trade from the Red Sox on CC Sabathia’s R2C2 podcast, explaining the front office “did a great job in like, talking through things. It wasn’t just like ‘Boom, trade’ on Twitter. They talked and said, ‘Hey you know, if something makes sense then we’ll pull the trigger.’ " Betts, slashing .295/.366/.576 with a .942 OPS and 16 homers before Thursday for the playoff-bound Dodgers, said he was hitting when he got the news that he was traded. “It wasn’t that bad. I thought it would be way worse. I thought it was going to hurt. It didn’t hurt initially, but I think it a couple days it was sad a little bit,” he said. "I was at home and I didn’t have to say bye to so many people. . . . I guess it’s kind of fair that I got to say bye to nobody really.”
Christina Prignano of Globe Staff contributed to this report.