WORCESTER — Last weekend was a whirlwind for Jarren Duran.
He was informed between games of a doubleheader in Toledo on Thursday that he was being promoted back to the big leagues with Kiké Hernández being placed on the COVID-19-related injured list. And so, Duran (as well as his parents, who were in Toledo for the series) flew to Boston on Friday morning.
Duran started for the Red Sox on Friday night and went 1 for 4 with a triple while reaching base twice, then was informed after the game that the Sox were sending him back down to Triple A. He flew back to Toledo on Saturday, played on Sunday (0 for 4), then flew back with his Triple A teammates to Worcester that evening.
Duran did not mind spending three days as a pinball.
“[Red Sox manager Alex Cora] just called me into his office and said, ‘Kiké is coming back, so you’re going back to the Woo.’ I just said, sounds good, thank you for having me today. I can’t complain. They’ve got to do what’s best for the club,” Duran said on Wednesday morning in the WooSox clubhouse. “It was all great. It’s always a great feeling to be back in the big leagues. I felt like I did a lot of things right. So it was a good reminder to myself that I can play at that level when I do my best.”
Despite spending just a few hours back in the big leagues, Duran appreciated having a very different experience from what he’d encountered as a struggling rookie in 2021. He felt like he never got comfortable among his veteran teammates, trying too hard to recede into the background and not make any mistakes. Last Friday was different.
“I felt way more comfortable,” said Duran. “I was trying to do too much. I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes, so I kind of just stayed away from everybody. This year, I literally went up to everybody and was giving them hugs and saying hi, just trying to be part of the boys, just trying to be part of the chemistry that they have.”
Duran is hitting ..352/.425/.549 with eight extra-base hits and eight steals in 18 Triple A games. The Red Sox are still looking for him to benefit from development time, by locking in his offensive approach after a multiyear period of swing changes and with improved outfield play. WooSox manager Chad Tracy praised Duran for how he handled a quick turnaround on the depth shuttle.
“J.D. is pretty focused. He’s really good about staying in the moment and just being where his feet are,” said Tracy. “I really do think he looks at it like, ‘Well, one day going to the major leagues and playing at Fenway Park is better than no days.’ He went up there, did his thing, came back, and then we’ll try to keep him on the train tracks moving forward so when the time comes that he goes up there and doesn’t come back, he’s ready for it.”
Righthander Josh Winckowski threw just 32 pitches over two innings for Worcester on Wednesday. According to a team source, the brief outing was planned, with the team wanting Winckowski to stay on a starter’s routine but with a turn where his volume was limited. With the freedom to air out his arm in a shorter outing, Winckowski worked at 94-96 miles per hour, up from where he’s been for much of this year, while getting four ground outs and a pair of strikeouts.