ANAHEIM, Calif. — Things you hear about the Red Sox on the dusty trail:
■ When MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal suggested an outside-the-box solution for third base by acquiring Gold Glove second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers and converting him to third, we asked around about other outside-the-box options.
One scout suggested Jose Bautista, who began his career as a super utility player. Bautista has played 389 career games at the hot corner, including parts of three games (11 innings) this season. The scout reasoned that Bautista wouldn’t be a Gold Glover by any means, but could he provide basic coverage at a position he’s very familiar with in addition to covering you in the outfield and first base? The scout thought this was an avenue to pursue.
While Bautista hasn’t had the best of seasons, he can still get hot and hit the long ball. He’s been Toronto’s leadoff hitter of late because of his on-base ability (.338 this season). Bautista has also hit well at Fenway — 24 homers and a .933 OPS.
Bautista, 36, was coached in Toronto by Brian Butterfield, Boston’s infield coach. Bautista has handled 1,045 chances and made 43 errors at third base for a .959 fielding percentage.
Any team trading for Bautista would have to take the remaining prorated portion of Bautista’s $18 million salary and a $500,000 buyout of a 2018 option.
When asked about the possibility of playing third again, Bautista said, “I believe in our team and solely focused on helping the Blue Jays get back into the race right now.”
The Jays began play Saturday with the third-worst record in the American League and stood 6½ games out of a wild-card berth.
■ Another player to consider as a possible third base candidate is Philadelphia’s Howie Kendrick, who has just returned to the active roster. He’s missed 59 games with injuries, including hamstring issues. Kendrick, 34, is hitting .354 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 127 at-bats this season, but he’s mostly been a second baseman and a left fielder. Still, in 2016, he spent 17 games at third base for the Dodgers. He’s a .371 career hitter at Fenway in 148 plate appearances.
■ Oakland A’s pro scout Billy Owens was recently in Portland, Maine, looking over the Yankees’ Trenton Thunder team likely in preparation for a possible deal involving Sonny Gray. Owens also saw Boston’s Double A team in case there’s a match for Jed Lowrie. The Red Sox don’t have a whole lot of “prospects” in Double A with the exception of infielder Michael Chavis. One intriguing player for Portland is 29-year-old Jeremy Barfield, son of Jesse, who is a 6-foot-5-inch righthanded hitter. Scouts love his power, but he’s never been able to demonstrate what everybody wants — consistency.
■ The amazing defensive wizardry of Jackie Bradley Jr. added a new chapter with another leaping, crashing-into-the-wall catch on the very first play of Boston’s 6-2 win over the Angels on Friday night. Interestingly, Bradley said he knew how to avoid injury while crashing into walls. Bradley said he crashed into the wall shoulder-first to avoid full impact. “That’s just one of the things you learn over the years,” Bradley said. Asked if the collision hurt, Bradley said “It didn’t feel good, but I’m all right.”
■ The Red Sox are being smart trying to give both Chris Sale and David Price an extra day of rest when possible. “I don’t think anyone would mind it, especially this time of the year when you’re really grinding. Any time you can get an extra day of work in or rest or whatever, it’s nice,” Sale said. Over his career, Sale is 31-24 with a 3.14 ERA on four days’ rest and 40-19 with a 3.10 ERA on five days’ rest.
■ Brandon Workman has drawn very positive reviews around the league for his comeback after a long rehab from Tommy John surgery. Workman, 28, was a big bullpen cog in Boston’s 2013 World Series run. Workman’s solid pitching probably is not enough to keep the Red Sox from trying to land another bullpen piece before the trading deadline, but in the meantime, while Joe Kelly and Blaine Boyer are on the DL, Workman has filled a void and he appears to be someone manager John Farrell has some faith in.
■ After Friday night’s solid outing — six innings, two runs allowed — for Double A Portland, the organization is hopeful that lefty Henry Owens’s new three-quarters delivery is finally taking hold. Owens, who has walked 80 batters in 84⅔ innings between Double A and Triple A, seems to be getting comfortable with his new arm slot, which at times drops even lower. It’s resulted in more first-pitch strikes and added depth to his curveball, which buckled hitters at times. Owens’s control wasn’t perfect Friday. He walked three and threw 100 pitches in six innings. But there was progress and there were scouts there watching this unfold, which could lead to Owens being involved in a deal down the road.
■ I asked agent Scott Boras whether he thought the Texas Rangers would deal his client, Adrian Beltre to the Red Sox. He said, “There’s no way the Rangers would deal Adrian,” Boras said from his suite at Angels Stadium. As we pointed out in this space a couple of weeks back, Beltre would be the ideal third base selection for the Red Sox. While he’s 38, he can still play and he’s familiar with Fenway, having played a year of his career there. But having entered Saturday 14 hits short of 3,000 and the fact he’ll wear the Rangers cap as a Hall of Famer, all point to the fact that Beltre is likely staying put.