Ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Guardians, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to bench outfielder Alex Verdugo after the veteran’s lack of effort in Wednesday night’s 5-2 defeat.
The play in question occurred with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and Verdugo at first base. As Masataka Yoshida hit a slow ground ball to second baseman Andrés Giménez, Verdugo broke for second base, then began to pull up midway to the bag and look back at the play, presumably assuming the throw would go to first base. Instead, Giménez threw to second, narrowly nabbing Verdugo to end the inning.
The play in question re: Verdugo pic.twitter.com/QhYlUQqaky
— Brendan Campbell (@brendan_camp) June 8, 2023
Cora removed Verdugo from the game and replaced him with Christian Arroyo, and told reporters that he would not be used in Thursday’s game. He expected to have the 27-year-old back in the lineup against the Yankees on Friday, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
Verdugo has gotten off to a strong start this season, batting .286/.364/.450 with five home runs and 24 RBIs in 59 games. He arrived in Boston ahead of the 2020 campaign as the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade and has posted a .774 OPS during his Red Sox career.
After wrapping up the series against Cleveland, Boston will begin a three-game set against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday.