Boston Red Sox

Apr 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; A view of the Boston Red Sox logo and a field bag during batting practice before the game between the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Field. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks into the season, the Red Sox are already battling COVID issues on their roster. On Monday, the team announced catcher Kevin Plawecki and two staff members had tested positive. Now, more players are joining them.

On Tuesday, catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Jonathan Arauz were also added to the COVID-19 injury list. According to manager Alex Cora all three players are vaccinated, meaning they can return to the team once they test negative and will not need to take a mandatory quarantine beyond that.

In order to fill out the roster, the Red Sox called up catchers Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez, outfielder Rob Refsnyder, and pitcher Tyler Danish from Triple-AAA Worcester. Wong, who was acquired by the team in the Mookie Betts trade, is expected to start while Vazquez and Plawecki are unavailable.

In an additional roster move, the team placed starting pitcher Rich Hill on the bereavement list. Hill’s father passed away late last week.

The Red Sox play the first game of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. It will be the first night game of the year for the team in Boston.

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Mazz: Three early-season observations on the Red Sox

  • One week in the books, six games scratched off the schedule, no final determinations to be made. But if you’re looking for a few initial observations after the Red Sox’ first six games of the 2022 season, here they are:

    Right field is an area of concern

    Apr 10, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo (39) catches a fly ball hit by New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) (not pictured) during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 10, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo (39) catches a fly ball hit by New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) (not pictured) during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

    When the Red Sox traded Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee for Jackie Bradley and a pair of minor leaguers, the assumption was that Bradley would be a depth piece or that the Sox would find a legitimate right-handed-hitting complement for him. And while Bradley got his first hits of the season in Wednesday’s win, the Sox rank 26th in OPS at the position (14th in the AL) and Christian Arroyo (not his fault) has had trouble in right field.

    Apr 13, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; (Left to right) Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hansel Robles (57) right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) and center fielder Enrique Hernandez (5) celebrate together after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 13, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; (Left to right) Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Hansel Robles (57) right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) and center fielder Enrique Hernandez (5) celebrate together after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    (Before we go on … can someone explain what happened with the Sox pursuit of Seiya Suzuki, who is off to a roaring start with the Chicago Cubs?)

    In the short term and the long, it already feels like the Sox need to make a move here. Maybe Rob Refsnyder has to come up from Worcester to play right field against lefties. Maybe chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has to make a trade earlier than he’d like. In the interim, the Sox should play Bradley as much as possible because the defense without him simply isn’t good enough.

  • The middle of the infield hasn’t exactly been dynamic

    Apr 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

    Yes, Xander Bogaerts started the season with a three-hit game, but he strained a hamstring (or something) in his final at-bat of the game and has since gone 2-for-14 with five strikeouts and no extra-base hits. (He hasn’t looked right.) Meanwhile, Trevor Story missed some games with an illness and is just 3-for-14 with three strikeouts on the season. None of his three hits has been particularly well struck.

    Apr 8, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story (10) makes the throw to first for an out during the first inning against New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 8, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story (10) makes the throw to first for an out during the first inning against New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

    YES, WE KNOW … IT’S EARLY.

    For what it’s worth, April is historically Story’s worth month, though it also worth noting that he hit .234 against right-handers over the entirety of last season. (He looks especially vulnerable to pitches away.)

    We’ve seen enough of Bogaerts over the years to know what he is when healthy, but this all bears watching. Story is undergoing major transitions. Bogaerts is in what amounts to a contract year. Pay close attention as the year goes on.

  • The pitchers, especially the starters, are giving up too many home runs

    Yankee fans go crazy on Anthony Rizzo 2-run shot against the Red Sox during opening day action at Yankee Stadium April 8, 2022. Yankees Opening Day

    Yankee fans go crazy on Anthony Rizzo 2-run shot against the Red Sox during opening day action at Yankee Stadium April 8, 2022.
    Yankees Opening Day

    Last year, after all but delivering room service to opposing hitters, Red Sox starters allowed just 106 home runs, tied with Tampa Bay for fewest in the American League. Meanwhile, their relievers allowed just 70, tied with the Chicago White Sox for second fewest. So far this season, the Sox have allowed nine homers in six games, a pace that would produce 243 home runs, well over the staff total (and league low) of 176 last season.

    Apr 13, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 13, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    So far, the worst culprit has been Nathan Eovaldi, who has served up four homers in two starts. Until baseball changes some of the rules next year, home runs are likely to decide the majority of games. The Sox have hit just five while allowing nine, and there is every chance those numbers will flip as the Boston offense continues to awaken.

    But while the good homers are likely to come, their value gets diminished if the Sox keep serving meatballs to the opposition.

NEXT: Chris Sale resumes his rehab