Alex Verdugo got back to looking like himself again in Thursday’s extra-inning win against the Yankees. Verdugo, who is typically the Sox’ No. 2 hitter, went 3 for 4 with two runs scored from the No. 7 spot in the order, a spot that is somewhat new for him. Verdugo batted seventh just once previously for the Red Sox.
On Friday, manager Alex Cora had him in the seven hole again. Verdugo was 1 for 4 with a double and a strikeout in the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over New York.
Part of it is matchups, another part, perhaps, is Cora challenging his player.
“He’s a very proud individual and he really loves hitting second for this team. I know that,” Cora said before Friday’s game against the Yankees.
There’s another piece to Verdugo hitting that far down in the lineup. One that has to do with him getting to see more pitches from the outside looking in.
“Sometimes it gives you time to see the game before you go out there,” Cora said. “So to hit him probably in the bottom of the lineup or in the middle of the lineup, it helps him to see where we are and get some feedback from other guys instead of him giving the feedback.”
Verdugo also hit sixth once this season year, drawing three walks against the Blue Jays earlier in the week. Cora believes Verdugo is turning the corner.
“I think he’s starting to see the ball,” Cora said. “The most important thing he did in Buffalo (against Toronto) was that he was able to track pitches and stay disciplined. We trust this guy. He’s a good hitter. He can do a lot of things and you know the last two games he has started has been really solid.”
Cora impressed with Mayer
The Red Sox 2021 first-round draft pick Marcelo Mayer officially signed with the club Friday at Fenway and left an impression on Cora.
“You can see the talent the way he looks at shortstop,” Cora said. “The swing is there, now it’s just a matter of going to work.”
Mayer is bilingual which Cora believes will leave a great impact on the clubhouse.
“I think those things are very important for stuff in the clubhouse,” Cora said. “Like, now he’s going to see kids from the Dominican Republic that don’t speak the language. They don’t speak English, and he’s going to be one of those guys that’s going to help us.”
Sawmura hits IL
The Red Sox placed righthander Hirokazu Sawamura on the injured list with right triceps inflammation, retroactive to July 20. Phillips Valdez was recalled. Sawamura has a 2.87 ERA, allowing 12 earned runs over 37 2/3 innings in 38 appearances this season. Cora doesn’t think Sawamura will be down for long.
Yankees getting healthy
The Yankees reinstated lefthander Nestor Cortes and righthander Jonathan Loaisiga from the COVID-19 injured list.
Righthanders Brooks Kriske and Nick Nelson were optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Three other players on the COVID list are close to returning.
Infielder Gio Urshela is expected back in the lineup Sunday for the series finale. Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka will rejoin the team Sunday to travel to Tampa Bay and could be activated during that series.
Lefthander Wandy Peralta is working out in New York and is likely to need a minor league game before returning.
Minor league moves
The Red Sox promoted righthanded starter Kutter Crawford, righthanded reliever Durbin Feltman, and infielder Grant Williams from Double A Portland to Triple A Worcester.
Crawford, 25, had a 3.30 ERA in 10 starts for the Sea Dogs.
Feltman, hyped as the closer of the future when he was drafted in 2018, was hit hard in Double A in 2019. But the 24-year-old had a 3.29 ERA and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 22 appearances this season as a set-up man.
Williams, 25, has hit .291 with a .695 OPS playing second base and shortstop.
Lefthander Matthew Kent, who appeared in two AAA games during a recent callup, was returned to Portland.