Jackie Bradley Jr. is sick, Andrew Benintendi’s right foot is hurting, and Dustin Pedroia is DHing to protect his left knee. That forced Red Sox manager Alex Cora to get creative with Monday’s lineup, which included catcher Christian Vasquez playing second base against the Orioles.
“There were a lot of thoughts,” Cora said. “A lot of discussions, and we feel like we’re very comfortable with the guys that we’re playing today and where they’re at. So don’t be surprised if we’re moving people around the whole game.”
Steve Pearce started in left field. Eduardo Nunez was available off the bench.
Vasquez went to fish a second baseman’s glove out of Brock Holt’s locker around 9 a.m. Because of the rainy day and the early start, he didn’t have a chance to take ground balls before the game, but Vasquez said he takes grounders at third base as part of his normal warmup routine and felt ready.
“Played a little bit in the minor leagues, last year in the World Series,” Vasquez said. “But it’s not going to be tough. If there’s a ground ball, I’m going to block it, so I’ve got a cup. Don’t worry.”
Vasquez got his first chance in the top of the first. He cleanly fielded a grounder by Dwight Smith Jr. and started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Vasquez made an appearance at first base during the World Series last year. He did play 4⅔ innings at second base for Single A Greenville in 2010.
With Pedroia, Cora said it would be “pushing” him to play second base, especially on a drizzly day.
“We have a program, we have to be disciplined,” Cora said. “We were pushing him to play second but then it doesn’t make sense. Something happens today and we play him and then it’s on us.
“The only thing we can do honestly is DH him and keep him off his feet as much as possible. Not push him so hard. It’s a tough start and it’s tough conditions.”