Boston Red Sox

Feb 19, 2020; Lee County, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox player Alex Verdugo (99) poses for a photo during media day Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

If and when baseball begins their pandemic-delayed 2020 season, Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo will be there and ready to go.

“Physically, I’m 100 percent,” Verdugo, who participated in a conference call on Monday, offered. “I feel very good.”

Now, Verdugo did note that he will have likely need to have another X-ray to confirm that he’s indeed “100 percent” when baseball returns, but this seems like a welcomed change given where the 23-year-old Verdugo was less than three months ago.

The centerpiece of the return for Mookie Betts, Verdugo was expected to begin the year on the injured list had the season started as originally scheduled. And though that there’s really through no fault of his own, it would have been the worst way to begin a career that will (unfairly) task you with replacing a player as important as Betts. But working his way back from a a back ailment that ended his 2019 season with the Dodgers, Verdugo confirmed that he has actually returned to JetBlue Park and gone through some individual workouts since the Fort Myers, Fla. facility reopened last week.

“We kind of just ramped it back up,” Verdugo said of his return to Fenway South. “From there, I think we’re kind of back on track. We’re swinging, people are throwing to me in the cage.”

For Verdugo, the delay — and with no official start date in sight despite countless rumors that have suggested later this month, June, and now July 1 — has given him time to get his game conditioning back up to where it needs to be.

And most of all, it’s put him on track to start his Red Sox career as an actual on-field member of a new-look 2020 group.

“Whenever the season starts, I think I’ll be ready,” said Verdugo.

Verdugo, a second-round draft choice of Los Angeles back in 2014, totaled 12 home runs, 44 RBIs, and posted a .294 batting average in 106 games for the Dodgers in 2019.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.