Michael Chavis was a shortstop when the Red Sox drafted him in 2014. He became a third baseman in 2015, then started playing some games at first base in 2017 in the Arizona Fall League.
Second base was added to his portfolio this season, and he’ll probably get some games in left field before the year is out.
For much of his professional career, Chavis has been a good hitter in search of a position. But since joining the Red Sox in April, his defense has actually been a positive.
“It’s been great, both at second and at first,” manager Alex Cora said. “But he’s been great at first base. Good decisions. Good instincts.”
Chavis has started 29 games at second base for the Sox, 21 at first base, and one at third base. He has been primarily a first baseman this month, taking over with Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce on the injured list.
Chavis has handled throws adeptly, taken charge on popups, and fielded the position cleanly. He’s made several stops on hard-hit balls down the line, too.
It’s a small sample size, but Chavis has already been credited with two defensive runs saved at first base. That’s two more than Moreland, a Gold Glove winner in 2016, has had the last two seasons.
“I feel comfortable at first. I like it,” Chavis said. “As long as I’m still in the lineup, I’m happy.”
Infield coach Carlos Febles, who managed Chavis in Double A in 2017, told Cora that the rookie wouldn’t be a detriment in the field.
“He’s a good athlete,” Cora said. “He has good hands, good feet and he learns quickly.”
Pearce should return from the injured list in the coming days. Moreland, out with a quad strain, likely will not return until after the All-Star break.
Where Chavis fits long term remains to be seen. Rafael Devers, at 22, appears set at third base for years to come. Moreland and Pearce will be free agents after the season, so Chavis could fit there. But the Sox also have 23-year-old corner infielder Bobby Dalbec in Double A Portland.
You have to laugh
J.D. Martinez turned to the dugout and raised his arms in mock triumph when he reached first base after an RBI single in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 9-4 victory against the Twins.
The hit snapped an 0-for-11 streak that included five strikeouts and two double-play grounders.
“I’m sorry you had to see that. That was ugly,” Martinez said. “It’s part of it. You can laugh about it or you can put your head down about it. I choose to laugh about it.”
Even with the mini-slump, Martinez has a .953 OPS and eight RBIs in 10 games since he missed four consecutive with a back strain.
“It’s gotten lot better. It hasn’t been bothering me of late,” he said.
The Red Sox had a difficult schedule through 76 games. They opened the season with 11 games on the West Coast, and have already played two series at Yankee Stadium and another in Houston.
But now the schedule will turn in their favor.
The Sox have 14 games remaining before the All-Star break, 12 against teams with a losing record. The other two will be against the Yankees in London next weekend.
The Sox also have two days off before the first game in London, then a day off after. That will give them a chance to re-set their rotation and give the bullpen some rest.
Coming out of the All-Star break, 14 of the first 20 games will be at Fenway Park.
Bogaerts being snubbed
That Xander Bogaerts isn’t higher in the All-Star voting among American League shortstops is puzzling. He is second in OPS (.928) and home runs (14), and first in RBIs (49), extra-base hits (38), walks (45), and runs (58). Bogaerts also has started all but three games this season. But in the latest on-line voting, which ends at 4 p.m. Friday, Bogaerts was somehow sixth behind Jorge Polanco, Carlos Correa, Gleyber Torres, Tim Anderson and Francisco Lindor . . . Brock Holt has hit .371 with a .929 OPS in 18 games since returning from the injured list on May 27 . . . Chris Sale is the scheduled starter against Toronto on Friday to start a three-game series at Fenway. Sale has a 2.09 ERA in his last nine starts with 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings. The Blue Jays will start rookie righthander Trent Thornton, who will be facing the Sox for the first time. He threw 6⅔ shutout innings at Houston on Sunday . . . Pearce was 2 for 4 in a rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket against Durham. Righthander Tyler Thornburg allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in the same game, getting just two outs. He gave up two home runs. Thornburg has appeared in five rehab games for Pawtucket and been charged with eight earned runs over 4⅔ innings.