Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Cash needs to buy a ribbie
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON--Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash has not had a plate appearance since Aug. 25. He has only 10 since July 24.
Why is that of any consequence? Because unless Cash gets to the plate, he will have no way to avoid becoming just the second player in Red Sox history to have 60 or more plate appearances in a season without a single RBI.
The problem is, Cash is one of four Sox catchers on the active roster. Victor Martinez is playing for a new contract and wants to play every day. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was acquired in a trade from Texas and figures to be part of the catching mix in the future. Jason Varitek, whose fractured foot led to the Sox trading for Cash on July 1, is the team captain making what quite possibly will be his last hurrah.
So getting at-bats is no easy task for Cash, who in a previous tour of duty with the Sox (2007-08) distinguished himself with his ability to catch Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball.
Cash has made 62 plate appearances for the Red Sox and is batting .143 (8-for-56). The Sox record for most plate appearances without an RBI is held by Charlie Armbruster, who like Cash was a catcher and came to the plate 71 times in 1907 without driving in a run. Armbruster batted just .100 (6-for-60) for the Sox that season. He had just one extra-base hit, the same number as Cash, and it was a double, just like Cash's. Armbruster did not strike out that season; Cash has whiffed 14 times with the Sox.
Cash has had RBI opportunities, but he is 0-for-13 for the Sox with runners in scoring position. Before his trade from Houston, he hit two home runs and drove in four runs for the Astros. But his season total of four RBIs ties Washington utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez for fewest RBIs by a player with 123 plate appearances or more in 2010. Gonzalez has 159 plate appearances, Cash 123.
The Sox have 12 games left for Cash to knock in a run, but will he get the chance? Stay tuned.