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It’s too late for this season, but Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is coming alive at the plate

Rafael Devers celebrated after tying Sunday's game with a homer in the ninth inning.Mark Blinch/Getty

TORONTO — It’s far too late to help the Red Sox, but what was a substandard season for Rafael Devers has turned around.

He reached base five times in Sunday’s 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays, part of a stretch that has seen the third baseman hit .350 with a 1.108 OPS this month.

“I’ve been trying to make the adjustment all year and right now I feel locked in,’ Devers said.

He was 2 for 2 with a game-tying home run in the ninth inning along with two walks and a hit by pitch. For the season, Devers is up to .276 with an .876 OPS.


He is among the American League leaders in home runs (33), RBIs (98), extra-base hits (67), and OPS.

Devers said the adjustment was largely being more patient.

“I’ve been able to see a lot of pitches. I’m not being as aggressive as I’ve been in the past,” he said via a translator.

Alex Cora noted that Devers also has changed his swing to give himself more room to take the ball up the middle and the other way.

“He’s in a great place right now,” the manager said. “It’s fun to watch him.”

Devers has 172 homers, tying Jim Rice for the most by a Red Sox player before turning 27. He also has the second most for any Dominican player before that age. Albert Pujols had 250.

The home run was Devers’s 400th career extra-base hit. The last three players to do that before turning 27 were Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Mike Trout.

Jansen on the way

Kenley Jansen, who went on the COVID-19 injured list last week, played catch on Saturday in Boston and will rejoin the team in Texas.

The plan is for Jansen to be activated Wednesday. The closer has not recorded a save since Aug. 20 and appeared in only six games since, giving up five earned runs on five hits over 3⅓ innings.


Zack Kelly worked back-to-back days for Triple A Worcester, pitching a scoreless inning in an 11-5 win over Syracuse on Sunday at Polar Park.

The righthander, who had surgery on May 2 to reposition the ulnar nerve in his elbow, will be reassessed by a doctor on Monday and could rejoin the Sox this week. Kelly has appeared in six minor league games since Sept. 1.

“The fact he’s back, you’ve got to tip your hat to him,” Cora said. “It didn’t seem that way when it happened and now he’s in the mix.”

Two other rehabbers, righthander Kaleb Ort and lefthander Joely Rodriguez, are scheduled to pitch for Worcester on Tuesday at Lehigh Valley.

Mata returns to mound

Bryan Mata, who’s prospect status has taken a tumble in recent years, faced five hitters for Worcester in his first game since May 9. He allowed a run on two hits and a walk and struck out one.

The 24-year-old righthander has missed most of the season with a muscle strain in his shoulder.

“He was one of those guys that we were counting on, probably for the middle of the season or by September,” Cora said. “It didn’t work out physically but still we think highly of him.

“He’s a guy that stuff-wise, he’s up there with the best of the best. Obviously, it’s a big offseason for all of us and it’s a big offseason for him. We’ll see what the future holds.”


Dalbec in the mix

With Triston Casas on the injured list, Bobby Dalbec started at first base and was 1 for 3 before being pinch hit for in the eighth inning. It was his first major league game since June 25. Cora said he hopes to get Dalbec into a game in right field before the season ends to get a better gauge of his defensive versatility. Dalbec, 28, had a .938 OPS with 33 home runs over 114 games for Worcester. With Casas blocking him, an offseason trade may be the best thing for both Dalbec and the Sox … The Sox finished the season 7-6 against the Blue Jays. The teams won’t play again until June 17 … The Jays drew 119,832 for the three-game series … The Sox will keep their rotation in order for the series against Texas. Kutter Crawford starts Monday with Tanner Houck and Brayan Bello to follow Tuesday and Wednesday. Texas has Jordan Montgomery, Nate Eovaldi, and Jon Gray lined up. The Sox took two of three from the Rangers when the teams met in July at Fenway Park … High A Greenville won Game 1 of the best-of-three South Atlantic League championship series with a 2-0 victory against Hudson Valley. Luis Perales allowed one hit over six innings for the win. Game 2 is at Greenville on Tuesday.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him @PeteAbe.