With the retiring of Dustin Pedroia, shortstop Xander Bogaerts is now the longest-tenured player on the 2021 Red Sox. In what will be his ninth season with Boston, Bogaerts will be taking on more of a leadership role than ever before, however, through the first few spring training games, Bogaerts has not taken the field. On Monday, returning manager Alex Cora revealed why.
2021 Red Sox: Why Hasn’t Bogaerts Played?
In his pregame press conference on March 1, Cora was questioned on where Boston’s star shortstop had been. In response, Cora explained, “He’s a little banged up, his shoulder. We shut him down for a little bit.” Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bogaerts rushed himself with his offseason throwing program, resulting in a sore shoulder. Apparently, lockdown and restrictions in Aruba made it difficult for the 28-year-old shortstop to conduct a normal offseason and these issues are the result.
2021 Red Sox: When Can We Expect Bogaerts Back?
While hearing that one of your star players is being shut down is not good news, Sox fans should not be too worried about Xander Bogaerts’s shoulder. A Monday MRI revealed nothing concerning so Bogaerts should be able to resume throwing within the next few days. As Cora says, “We just gotta to be patient. We got plenty of days”. More importantly, Cora mentioned that, “As of now, we do feel that he should be ready for Opening Day”. Bogaerts missing time would be surprising, as he has played in over 92% of possible regular season games, excluding his 2013 rookie season.
2021 Red Sox: How Good Can Bogaerts Be?
The Red Sox will certainly want Bogaerts healthy on Opening Day and for good reason. Xander Bogaerts is one of the best shortstops in all of baseball. He has received MVP votes in each of the last three seasons with a batting average of just around .300 over that span. Additionally, Bogaerts seems to be only getting better with 2019 being his best season. In that year, Bogaerts was an All-Star and Silver Slugger with 33 HR and 117 RBIs. Replicating or improving those numbers would be a huge help with Boston’s hopeful playoff push.
Luckily for Red Sox fans, Bogaerts should still be able to put in a full season in 2021 despite these early shoulder injuries. In another press conference, Cora described Bogaerts as being in “good spirits” and reiterated the message that he will be back “sooner rather than later”. The talented shortstop will be ready to put in the work and contribute to a stacked 2021 Red Sox line-up.
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