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Michael Chavis still chasing better zone control, perhaps all the way back to Worcester

Four of Michael Chavis's seven hits in his brief time with the Red Sox this season have gone for extra bases, but he's struck out in 12 of 27 plate appearances -- nearly 45 percent.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Michael Chavis was 2 for 5 with a double in Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Angels. His one-out single in the fifth played a key role in the Red Sox coming back from a 4-1 deficit, when Rafael Devers followed it with a three-run homer.

But the game didn’t come without its typical Chavis outcomes, with all three of his outs coming by the strikeout. José Quintana fanned Chavis twice. In the first inning, Chavis chased a pitch above the zone for strike three. In the third, Chavis chased three pitches that were also above the zone, and in the ninth, Chavis swung through three Mike Mayers pitches at the top of the zone.


As the Sox begin a six-game road trip against the Blue Jays and Phillies following a Monday off-day, it appears Chavis’s immediate future is a trip back to Worcester. Kiké Hernández is working his way back from a hamstring injury and could be activated off the injured list ahead of Tuesday’s game.

Plate discipline and fastballs above his hands remain a weak part of Chavis’s game. He entered the day chasing pitches outside the zone 51 percent of the time. On fastballs at or above the zone, Chavis is 5 for 45, with 39 strikeouts.

When asked what Chavis’s future held before Sunday’s game, Cora didn’t intimate too much.

“I hate to look ahead,” Cora said. “There’s some people that are coming off the IL. Let’s take it day by day, you know, the day everybody was excited to win a World Series, it’s more than 26 guys. You have to make moves based on your roster and the people that you have. We’ll see what the future brings, but the future for him is today.”

Christian Arroyo’s brief setback as he recovers from a left hand contusion might buy Chavis a few more games on the big-league roster. There’s a strong possibility Jonathan Araúz is instead optioned once Hernández returns.


As for Chavis, he’s noted a couple of times that he wasn’t able to work on those weaknesses prior to the start of the WooSox season, in part, because they didn’t have umpires. Often, it would be just another player calling balls and strikes.

“It was difficult to get working,” Chavis said. “I wasn’t able to get my routine going just because we weren’t playing legitimate games. We didn’t have umpires, and the one thing I was told to do down there was focus on zone recognition.”

Michael Chavis, left, Hunter Renfroe, center, and Marwin Gonzalez all tried but couldn't come up with this key bloop off the bat of Mike Trout late in Sunday's loss.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

If that’s the case, the lack of improvement has certainly been evident the last week or so.

Garrett Whitlock returns

Garrett Whitlock was activated off the COVID-restricted list ahead of Sunday’s game. Whitlock recently felt symptoms after receiving his second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Colten Brewer was optioned back to Triple A . . . Hernández played seven innings in the outfield Sunday against Syracuse and hit two home runs, including a grand slam in his second at-bat. He finished 2 for 4 with 5 RBIs . . . Arroyo hit off the tee again, but won’t be with the Red Sox for the start of the road trip and will head to Worcester instead to get treatment and continue his progression. The Red Sox hope Arroyo can begin taking batting practice Wednesday.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.