One day after the Red Sox endured an embarrassing loss, members of the club had a meeting on Monday morning at Fenway Park to try to reset and refocus at a time when the team is in last place in the AL East.
“It was just to get back to who we are,” said closer Kenley Jansen, before the Sox dropped the series finale to the first-place Rays, 4-1, to fall back to .500 at 30-30. “It’s a long season and everybody believes in this team, but it’s just a moment to get back to who we are, find ourselves, what we’re capable to do, come here, and give us the best. It’s refreshing. We’ve got 102 more games after this one. What can we do the best in those to get to where we want to get, which is the postseason? We want to play in October. Everybody here wants to play in October. We’ve got a team to do it.
“It can be challenging sometimes, but you don’t want to shrink during your challenging moments.”
Jansen said the meeting featured a number of voices, both players and staff members. He said there were similarities between this meeting and one he experienced a year ago, when Atlanta manager Brian Snitker called a June 1 gathering when the reigning champions were mired in a 23-27 malaise.
“We ended up winning  games,” said Jansen. “Sometimes you need one of these just to remind yourself who you are. You can get lost sometimes just with how long the season is.
“I think we all needed it. I needed it. It’s a good refreshing thing for us to keep reminding ourselves who we are. The record doesn’t define who we are. We’ve just got to continue to bring it every day and tighten it up a little bit more, and we’ll be good.”
Manager Alex Cora said the team had moved on from Sunday’s loss against the Rays, which was highlighted by a series of misplays that allowed Yandy Díaz to race around the bases on a single. While acknowledging that the defeat was one of the more frustrating of the year, Cora said the team had compartmentalized the disappointment.
“Today’s a new day, man,” said Cora. “After the game, we [had] family day. We saw the kids running around. We’ve got a family trip,” explaining that the team’s families will travel along to Cleveland and New York.
“You put everything in perspective and you turn the page on that one and you keep getting better,” Cora added. “That’s been the message since day one.
“There’s going to be good days, there are going to be bad days, and there’s going to be plays like that. It’s part of the equation and sometimes you take it harder than other days.
“But we talked about the play today, we talked about the play with certain guys, and we showed them and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. And that’s the goal, just to keep getting better.”
The meeting was at least the second of the season for the Red Sox. Alex Verdugo called a players-only meeting in mid-May. As was the case then, the team focused on controlling its effort level and intensity.
“I believe in this team. We all believe in this team,” said Jansen. “We’ve just got to be capable of going out there and doing it, bringing it every single night.”
Raimel loses roster spot
The Red Sox activated infielder Christian Arroyo and immediately slotted him into the lineup against lefthander Shane McClanahan. To clear a roster spot, the team designated outfielder Raimel Tapia for assignment.
Arroyo entered Monday hitting .257/.295/.365 in 27 games. He’d gotten particularly hot (.500/.556/.813) in the six games before he landed on the injured list with a left hamstring strain.
Cora acknowledged that the decision to designate Tapia was “a tough one,” particularly given that the 29-year-old had performed well (.264/.333/.368). But he said the Sox are committed to giving Jarren Duran playing time, and with Adam Duvall (left wrist fracture) slated to return from the injured list Friday, Tapia got squeezed out in favor of fellow lefthanded hitter Duran.
“He played so well for us, but [the decision] was trusting Jarren, keep him around,” Cora said.
Hernández in center
Kiké Hernández, whose 13 errors at shortstop are the most in the majors, started in center field, an alignment Cora said he plans to continue using against lefties. Hernández’s role against righties will be matchup-based, with the Sox planning on more fully employing his versatility.
“That’s where Kiké becomes very valuable,” said Cora. “This is what he’s been doing his whole career. He can play second, he can play center.”
In the second inning, Hernández offered a reminder of his luminous center-field defense, robbing a two-run homer with a leaping grab in the triangle, next to the Sox bullpen. He added a sliding grab in the sixth.
Hernandez moved to shortstop in the eighth inning, with Duran taking over in center.
Duvall closes in
Duvall was in the clubhouse after playing five of six games — including back-to-back-to-back days in the outfield over the weekend — for Triple A Worcester on a rehab assignment. He felt like he regained his timing against fastballs while also regaining his running legs.
On Tuesday, Duvall will rejoin the WooSox at Polar Park in advance of Friday’s anticipated activation in New York ahead of the Yankees series.
“It feels like it’s been a while,” he said. “I’m excited to get back out there and compete.”
The returns of the righthanded-hitting Arroyo and Duvall, Cora hopes, will provide better left/right balance than the Sox have had for much of the last month, when lefties Verdugo, Rafael Devers, Masataka Yoshida, Triston Casas, and Duran were often stacked in five of the top six lineup spots.
“[Balance] is something we’ve been missing, and now we’ve got that extra righthanded bat, and with Duvey coming back, that’s going to create balance,” said Cora.
Story ramps up
Trevor Story is throwing at 105 feet in Fort Myers, Fla., taking part in fielding drills, taking batting practice inside a cage, and tracking (but not swinging at) major league-quality pitch arsenals off the team’s Trajekt machine. He’ll rejoin the Sox in Boston following the six-game road trip.
In his recovery from a January internal bracing procedure in his elbow, Story’s hitting progression is expected to advance more quickly than his throwing. Cora didn’t rule out the idea of bringing back Story as a DH while he continues to work up to playing shortstop, but also offered a measured view of the possibility.
“We’ll talk about that next week,” said Cora. “I’m not saying no — we always leave the door open for stuff like that — but we also have to be very smart with the roster we have.”
Infielder Yu Chang (hand) is expected to restart a rehab assignment Tuesday with Worcester.
Murphy on way up
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox are calling up lefthander Chris Murphy (1-3, 7.71 ERA) from Worcester to join the team Tuesday in Cleveland. Murphy has made nine starts and one relief appearance in Triple A.
James Paxton will start the three-game Guardians series, with the starters to be determined for Wednesday (likely Kutter Crawford) and Thursday. Garrett Whitlock will start the series opener Friday in New York against the Yankees.