Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that 20-year-old phenom Xander Bogaerts will make his major league debut Tuesday night, when the Sox face the Giants at AT&T Park.
Farrell made the announcement on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday afternoon, saying he was giving shortstop Stephen Drew the day off after a long stretch of consecutive games.
“We’re looking forward to the Bogaerts era getting underway,” Farrell said.
When asked how much playing time he was going to give Bogaerts over the final month or so of the season, Farrell said he was going to use the rookie to give players days off and keep them fresh.
“We’ll look to rotate him through shortstop and third base and we’ll see where it takes us,” he said.
That would seem to suggest Farrell doesn’t see Bogaerts as an everyday player quite yet, though he added he wasn’t going to pin himself on a specific number of days per week he’ll play the rookie.
“Xander has over 500 plate appearances already in Triple-A,” Farrell said. “So it’s not like he comes to us and there’s a mandate that says he’s got to continue to get everyday at bats.”
As he did the day before, Farrell was careful in saying there won’t be a platoon situation at short, with Drew facing right-handed pitchers and Bogaerts in for lefties. Drew is hitting .193 in 114 at bats against left-handed pitchers this season. The right-handed hitting Bogaerts hit .298 with a .926 OPS against southpaws in Pawtucket.
“By no means are we looking to take at bats away from Stephen [Drew],” Farrell said. “But if we have a chance to match up against a left-handed starter a little bit more effectively, we might do that and have Bogaerts at short.”
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is hitting .444 with a 1.210 OPS since being recalled from Pawtucket earlier this month, so it’ll be hard to take him out of the lineup if he produces consistently. If he drops into a funk like the one he started the season in, Bogaerts could see more time at third base.