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Red Sox like the looks of Adalberto Mondesí but want more middle-infield help

Tanner Houck got in some throwing Tuesday, with the first official workout coming up Wednesday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Though Kiké Hernández is penciled in as the Red Sox’ starting shortstop and Christian Arroyo will start the season at second base, the Sox still want to add another player who can contribute in the middle infield while Trevor Story (elbow) is on the injured list.

Adalberto Mondesí is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day as he continues to rehab an ACL tear in his left knee. But his progress has been steady, and the middle infielder is already making an impression on the Red Sox.

“I thought he was smaller,” manager Alex Cora said Tuesday. “But he’s like [Xander Bogaerts] as far as tall, strong, big legs. He was running Monday and you can see it. He has elite speed, and he’s running at 70 percent.”


Mondesí, known for his defense, is capable of playing shortstop and second. How the Red Sox use him remains to be seen.

They still want another player who, like Mondesí, can play both middle-infield positions.

José Iglesias, who most recently played with the Rockies and is still a free agent, certainly fits the profile. Iglesias, of course, has Red Sox ties; he came up with the organization and played for them for parts of three seasons from 2011-13. He rejoined them in September 2021 and played a huge part in the playoff push, batting .356/.406/.508 in 64 plate appearances.

Story is on hand

Story arrived to spring training early and was spotted without a sling after right elbow surgery. Both Cora and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Story is progressing but isn’t near baseball activity.

For now, Story wants to be a key presence on a team that has seen a shift in its culture.

“He wants to be part of the group and be out there with them,” Cora said. “He’s trying to help people out. He’s a little bit more outgoing. He’s feeling comfortable with the surroundings.”


New outfielder Masataka Yoshida tried his hand at the infield Tuesday, taking ground balls at third base.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Story did not sign until spring training was already under way last year. He then missed more time following the birth of his son, and at the start of the season was sick with a stomach bug.

“It was a crash course when he signed here,” Cora said.

Central figure

Adam Duvall will get most of the reps in center field to start the season, but the Red Sox will be strategic in their approach when it comes to managing the veteran’s workload.

“I don’t think it will be all on his shoulders,” Bloom said. “We know he can play out there. We also know with him, as with every player, we have to take care of them and make sure we’re not asking too much of any of our guys, especially early on.”

Duvall, 34, has 68 career starts in center, the least of the three outfield positions.

Health is foremost

The Sox currently have seven potential starters in Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, and James Paxton. But the goal coming out of camp isn’t necessarily to get the rotation down to five. “It’s just to keep everybody healthy and make decisions toward the end of camp,” Cora said. “We cannot get ahead of ourselves. Obviously, there’s a lot of question marks, a lot of red flags, but as of now everybody’s on track.” Sale and Paxton missed most or all of last season because of injuries. Houck and Whitlock missed the end of the season with injuries. So health is certainly an area of concern … Sale will throw bullpen sessions Wednesday and Saturday and face hitters next week. Paxton is progressing, having thrown a bullpen Monday … Righthander Michael Wacha, who went 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts for the Red Sox last season, agreed to a contract with the Padres, according to the Associated Press. The Padres will be the 31-year-old Wacha’s fifth team. He spent his first seven seasons with the Cardinals and was selected MVP of the 2013 National League Championship Series as a rookie. He also pitched for the Mets and Rays … Starting Wednesday, Fenway South will be open to fans to attend workouts. The west gate will open at 9 a.m. with practice starting at approximately 10. Concessions and merchandise will be available.


Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report, and material from the Associated Press was also used.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.