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Minor league notebook

Time in Worcester has helped Franchy Cordero find himself at the plate

Franchy Cordero's struggles at the plate brought about his demotion to Worcester so he could figure out his swing.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Franchy Cordero scuffled upon his arrival in Boston this season. Cordero would often look overwhelmed at the big league level. The game appeared to be it was too fast for him, and it showed in his production.

In 102 plate appearances, Cordero hit just .179 with a .228 on-base percentage. His lone homer came against the Phillies, a 474-foot moonshot to right-center field, reminding everyone of his light-tower power. But that brief reminder wasn’t enough to mask the reality. Cordero struck out 36.3 percent of the time.

Cordero was optioned to Triple A Worcester in late May with the hope that he could get more at-bats and figure out his swing. So far, it’s paid off.

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Heading into Tuesday, Cordero was hitting .377/.484/.714 with a 1.198 OPS and 5 homers in Worcester. He cut his strikeout rate to 21.5 percent and raised his walk rate from 5.9 percent in the majors to 17.2 percent at Worcester.

“There’s certainly been some very good results,” Triple A hitting coach Rich Gedman said recently. “He seems to be using the whole field; he, his routine in the cage and batting practice are very professional.”

Cordero has difficulty recognizing spin. Thus, teams exploited him on the breaking stuff, resulting in his 48.6 percent whiff rate on those pitches in the majors this year. Cordero was also suffocated on fastballs, drawing a 39.4 percent whiff rate. The fastball above his hands, in particular, proved to be a challenge, but as Gedman intimated, Cordero isn’t alone.

“Everybody has difficulty above their hands. Everybody,” Gedman said. “The problem is most guys don’t swing at it. Sometimes you’ll run into an umpire and pitcher whose strike zone is higher than normal. And certainly the spin rate is higher than normal. And so therefore, we have to figure out how to attack.

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“Most of the correction is discipline of the strike zone based on what their height is. He’s already a big guy [6 feet 3 inches]. His waist-high is somebody’s chest-high.”

Gedman explained that understanding who he is as a hitter and the pitches he can’t handle are keys to Cordero’s success. It simplifies a plan of attack, and sometimes can slow down the game. But it’s easier said than done — particularly at the big-league level.

With Jarren Duran seemingly on the brink of a promotion, it’s unclear when Cordero will get another shot. If anything, the outfielder provides depth for the Sox. It remains to be seen if his most recent production can translate to the big leagues, but confidence, perhaps, could be that boost.

“If he would have come here and struggled mightily, then you’d sit there and say, ‘Well, geez, maybe we made a bad decision on this guy,’ ” said Gedman. “But he came down here, he was professional. He’s done the job so far.

“Certainly the level may not be as good as the major league level — there’s no doubt. But he’s having success at a level and that’s important.”

Wong gets first call

The Red Sox called up catcher Connor Wong ahead of their series this week with the Tampa Bay Rays, and placed Kevin Plawecki on the injured list. Wong, 25, has struggled at Triple A, though he’s been limited to just 16 games by injuries. He was batting .148 for Worcester, and went hitless (0 for 11) in his last three contests.

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Connor Wong is expected to work as the backup cacher while Kevin Plawecki is on the shelf.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

That’s to be expected, Gedman said.

“I think some of it is just natural,” Gedman said. “When you don’t get off to a good start, and then you get injured, and then you try to come back and you play catch up. And it’s, like, nothing you do seems like it’s good enough.

“He’s doing fine. There’s nothing that says he’s struggling, except for results.”

The Sox were big on Wong during spring training, and that still seems to be the case.

“I try to choose not to make it a big deal,” Gedman said. “Because once he breaks out of it, it’s going to seem like a distant memory. So I think it’s just a matter of him getting his feet on the ground, personally.”

Wong was acquired from the Dodgers in February 2020 as part of the trade for Mookie Betts and David Price.


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