ARLINGTON, Texas — Triston Casas, whose second half of the season represents one of the best stretches in franchise history by a rookie, likely won’t play again this year.
As of Monday afternoon, doctors were reviewing an MRI on Casas’ injured right shoulder, which resulted in his placement on the 10-day injured list last weekend in Toronto. While results of that review were not yet available, however, manager Alex Cora said the first baseman wouldn’t be rushed through a rehab process in order to play the final few games.
“To ramp up again, it doesn’t make any sense,” Cora said before the Sox’ 4-2 win over the Rangers.
Assuming his season is done, the 23-year-old Casas will wrap up the year with a .263 average, .367 OBP, .490 slugging mark, and 24 homers (tied for seventh most by a Red Sox rookie). His .856 OPS is the highest by a Sox rookie with 500 plate appearances since Nomar Garciaparra (.875) in 1997.
Casas’s performance after the All-Star break suggested a player with a chance to be a middle-of-the-order force for years to come. He hit .317/.417/.617 with 15 homers in 54 games after the break, good for a 1.034 OPS that is the second-highest in Red Sox history by a rookie, trailing only Ted Williams (1.090 in 1939).
“Overall, a good season. He improved throughout the season,” Cora said. “He opened up a little bit more with the coaches as far as the defensive part of it, adjustments that he made offensively.
“He’s very stubborn in a good way in his process, but I think he understood that there were a few changes that he needed to make to be successful at this level. And he did.”
Robertson impresses in second stint
Shortly after reliever Nick Robertson was acquired from the Dodgers in the Kiké Hernández trade in late July, the righthander made a brief, forgettable debut with the Red Sox, allowing four runs in four innings over two games and promptly getting sent to Triple A Worcester. But with the WooSox, Robertson made some adjustments that have made him look like a very different pitcher during his September callup.
Robertson has made five scoreless appearances this month, striking out seven batters in five innings. The 25-year-old cited better location as the chief reason for his improvement. But his pitch mix — which was chiefly his mid-90s four-seamer and changeup in his debut — has been altered, with heavy usage of his slider since returning.
For that, Robertson credited WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott, who suggested he move from the first- to the third-base side of the pitching rubber. From that starting point, Robertson has found it far easier to throw a slider that looks like it’s inside to righties and then breaks over the plate, or to start it on the plate and then run off of it for a chase.
“We were talking about it, trying to figure out my starting point from the first-base side. It was just a little hard having to go so far [toward the third-base side from the first-base side]. So he said, ‘Why not start on the third base side and go straight?’ ” Robertson said. “I could execute it and like have that option to rely on a little more than what I was doing.”
The results have caught the attention of the Sox as they try to imagine bullpen contributors moving forward.
“Robo [has been] really good,” Cora said. “The slider is a lot better. The strike-throwing ability is a lot better than a few weeks ago. Credit to the people in Worcester. Abby did an outstanding job with him.”
Devers wins weekly American League honor
Rafael Devers was named American League Player of the Week. Devers was 8 for 20 with four homers and a .400/.586/1.000 line Sept. 11-17. The third baseman entered the series opener against the Rangers with a 1.085 OPS in September, the third-highest mark for any month of his career in which he batted at least 25 times … Outfielder Wilyer Abreu was out of the lineup after injuring his left arm while crashing into the Rogers Centre fence Sunday. The Sox are hopeful he’ll be able to play Tuesday … Righthander Zack Kelly, who underwent elbow surgery in May, looks increasingly likely to return to the big leagues this season. Righty Kaleb Ort (elbow) and lefty Joely Rodriguez (hip) are expected to pitch Tuesday for Triple A Worcester … The High A Greenville Drive will play the Yankees’ South Atlantic League affiliate, the Hudson Valley Renegades, Tuesday with a chance to clinch the South Atlantic League title. The Drive won the first game of the best-of-three championship series Sunday.