Red Sox manager John Farrell now has a much more useful bench with Sam Travis on the roster.
Chris Young remains the primary option as a pinch hitter. But Travis gives the Sox another dangerous hitter to consider. When Travis plays first base, Mitch Moreland becomes a good choice.
Moreland has hit .323 with an .866 OPS as a pinch hitter in his career. He had a pinch-hit RBI single in Wednesday’s 9-4 victory against Texas.
“With Sam here, the flexibility he gives us against lefthanded starters, it does gives us a proven guy on the bench in Mitch,” Farrell said Thursday.
The Sox also could give designated hitter Hanley Ramirez a day off and use Travis as the DH.
“Bottom line, the better hitters you have the more flexibility you have,” Farrell said.
Travis was 2 for 4 with a run scored Wednesday in his major league debut. Moreland was back at first base Thursday, but expect the Sox to be active in finding ways to get Travis on the field. They do not want a 23-year-old prospect of his caliber to sit for long stretches.
Farrell was diagnosed and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015. Since the winter, he has worked on a way to help others dealing with the same illness and those plans were revealed Thursday.
The “Farrell’s Fighters” program will invite one lymphoma patient and their family to a game each month. They will receive VIP tickets, a tour of the park, lunch or dinner in the Dell EMC Club, and a meeting with Farrell before watching batting practice.
“Having experienced the treatment that they’re going through and the grind that it presents and the physical challenges there, hopefully this is a day that they can break away from that,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the project has “deep meaning” to him personally and he’s eager to share his experiences with others and give advice if needed.
“I think it has a chance to be kind of a pretty neat thing,” he said.
Farrell is working with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox to run the program. It will expand to other hospitals over time.
The first patient to take part will be Nate Bouley of Sudbury. He and his family are scheduled to attend Sunday’s game against the Mariners.
Triple A Pawtucket was rained out, so Pablo Sandoval was at Fenway Park to work out. He will rejoin the PawSox on Friday for their game against Durham at McCoy Stadium. The third baseman, who is coming back from a sprained right knee, is 3 for 13 in four games for Pawtucket. The goal is for him to play back-to-back nine-inning games before he is activated . . . The Red Sox named Pawtucket lefthander Brian Johnson as their starter Saturday. The Mariners have not named a starter . . . Ramirez worked out at first base Tuesday and Wednesday but there are no immediate plans to play him in the field . . . Travis was given the ball from his first major league hit after the game Wednesday. He quickly turned it over to his mother, Nadine, for safekeeping. “She’ll find a good place for it,” he said.