NEW YORK — Kyle Schwarber has been an effective designated hitter for the Red Sox, reaching base seven times in 14 at-bats and scoring three runs in his first four games since coming off the injured list.
Now he’s ready for more.
Schwarber has been cleared to play the outfield and is likely to be in left field against the Texas Rangers on Friday night when the Sox open a six-game homestand.
“My legs feel good. If that’s what they decide, I’m ready to go,” he said Wednesday before a 5-2 loss against the Yankees.
Schwarber was on the injured list with a right hamstring strain when the Sox acquired him from the Nationals on July 30. He played his first game on Friday and looked remarkably comfortable at the plate after being out for 41 days.
“The jitters were there the first game, but once that settled down I was fine. It’s just a regular game,” said Schwarber, who was out of the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees after playing both games on Tuesday.
The longer-term plan for Schwarber is to play first base, a position he hasn’t played. He worked out there before the game on Wednesday, something he hadn’t done since Aug. 5 because of a groin strain.
It’s unclear when Schwarber will be ready to play first.
“That’s up to them,” he said. “I feel like I could do it. I feel pretty comfortable there, so hopefully it’s soon.”
The Red Sox were 63-42 and in first place when they traded for Schwarber. They have lost 12 of 18 since and fallen into third.
“These guys have done it all year. The panic button is not being hit. But there’s a sense of urgency. I see guys who want to work themselves out of it,” Schwarber said. “We have a lot of games left to play, that’s the biggest thing.
“We know we have to play better, but you can’t force that to happen. We’re in control.”
Ryan Brasier pitched an inning for Triple A Worcester against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday night, something the Sox plan to have him repeat on Thursday.
That could be the final hurdle before he is activated from the injured list.
“He’s getting close to joining the team,” manager Alex Cora said.
Brasier has allowed 10 runs on nine hits over 3⅔ innings in four appearances for Worcester and struck out only two.
Cora said the quality of Brasier’s pitches are approaching last season and the minor league results weren’t necessarily the team’s focus. The next step will be sharpening his command.
Brasier, 33, has been dealing with injuries since the early days of spring training, a strained left calf at first then a concussion suffered when he was hit by a batted ball.
Brasier made 121 appearances for the Sox from 2018-20 with a 3.70 earned run average and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Infielder Christian Arroyo had a day off on Wednesday and is expected to resume his rehab assignment with Worcester on Thursday. He has been out since July 19 with a strained left hamstring.
Spring into action
Major League Baseball is reverting to a traditional spring training schedule for 2022 after teams in Florida played a regionalized schedule this year.
The Sox open with an exhibition game against Northeastern on Feb. 25 before starting the Grapefruit League schedule on Feb. 26 against the Braves in North Port, Fla.
The Sox host the Yankees on Feb. 27 and play them in Tampa on March 7. The Sox play the Twins seven times, including at JetBlue Park on March 29 to close camp.
The regular season is scheduled to open March 31 at home against Tampa Bay.
Ups and downs
Tanner Houck, who was returned to Worcester after Tuesday’s doubleheader, was with the team at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday but is expected to report to Worcester on Thursday. With days off on Thursday and Monday, the Sox wouldn’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 28 if they go that route. “I can’t go into details on that,” Cora said. Houck is 0-3 with a 3.12 ERA in nine games, seven of them starts … Bench coach Will Venable, who was quarantined for 10 days in Toronto after testing positive for COVID-19, is back in the United States and will rejoin the team on Friday.