The Red Sox haven’t seen Christian Arroyo in nearly a month following his bout with COVID-19. But that could change soon. According to a Major League source, there’s a possibility the Red Sox activate Arroyo for their series against the Mets beginning Tuesday.
Manager Alex Cora intimated on a number of occasions the Sox second baseman felt symptoms because of the virus. Arroyo originally went on the COVID-related injured list on Aug. 27 as a close contact to Kiké Hernández, who tested positive for COVID despite being vaccinated. Two days later, the Red Sox confirmed that Arroyo also tested positive.
In Arroyo’s absence, the Red Sox received a significant boost in their acquisition of Jose Iglesias. He’s hit .341/.441/.581 with a homer in 34 plate appearances with the Sox.
“He’s a tough at-bat regardless of the result,” Cora said. “We were talking about it and he feels very comfortable at Fenway. He hits line drives to right field and fly balls to left field. He puts the ball in play. Sometimes he chases a lot of pitches, but he keeps fouling them off. It’s been refreshing. He’s been a great veteran guy that understands where we’re at and what we are fighting for.”
The Red Sox still own the first wild-card spot. But if they domake the postseason Iglesias won’t be in that fight with them because he wasn’t on the Sox’ roster prior to Sept. 1.
That makes it even more imperative Arroyo returns. Iglesias has played a solid second base after struggling at shortstop with the Angels. He helped to stabilize the Sox’ defense, allowing Hernández to return to center field and Alex Verdugo or Kyle Schwarber to play left field. This means J.D. Martinez can return to the DH spot where he’s most effective.
But Arroyo provides the Sox that same amount of stability because he, too, grades out as an above-average defender at second base.
The injury bug hit Arroyo a good amount this year, resulting in just 175 plate appearances. He’s hit a respectable .264/324/.453 in that span.
The Red Sox still couldn’t provide an update on Garrett Whitlock, who left Sunday’s game against the Orioles with pectoral tightness. Jarren Duran and Jonathan Araúz, who both hit the COVID-19 IL, won’t be activated for Tuesday’s game, according to a source. They will instead play in another game at Triple A Worcester.
The Red Sox will be tested against Marcus Stroman of the Mets Tuesday evening. Stroman has had one of his best seasons in the majors this year, carrying a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts this year.
Stroman is an old-school type of pitcher who doesn’t rely on the strikeout for effectiveness. In 169 innings, Stroman has just 151 strikeouts. What he does have, however, is the ability to locate.
Stroman is a sinker-pitcher, seemingly dumping his four-seam fastball following his rookie campaign. He has a six-pitch mix, but relies heavily on his sinker, changeup, and slider in order to get hitters out. The movement on those pitches and the effectiveness of his sinker have resulted in a 57.4 percent ground ball rate for his career.
Stroman is no stranger to the Red Sox either as a member of the Blue Jays five-plus years. He has a 3.44 ERA in 86 ⅓ innings against the Red Sox. He’s been even better at Fenway, registering a 2.97 ERA in 30 ⅓ innings pitched. Eduardo Rodriguez takes the ball for the Red Sox, fresh off six innings of one-run ball vs. the Mariners. Rodriguez has a 5.00 ERA.