Red Sox

Why Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo will reportedly be benched for another game

The Red Sox have been hampered over the last few weeks by lapses in execution across the diamond.

Boston Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo catches a fly ball hit by Cleveland Guardians' Myles Straw during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Cleveland.
Alex Verdugo will be benched for Thursday's series finale against Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

In the bottom of the eighth inning of Wednesday’s loss to the Guardians, the Red Sox removed Alex Verdugo from the game with no explanation given.

A day later, it seems like we might have our answer.

According to Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe, Verdugo was removed from Wednesday’s loss after not hustling out a play in the top of the seventh inning that cost Boston in a 5-2 defeat. 

Verdugo is also not in Boston’s lineup for Thursday’s series finale at Progressive Field.

The play in question happened in the seventh with two outs and Verdugo on at first base.


After Masataka Yoshida hit a weak ground ball to first, Verdugo was thrown out at second. Had Verdugo not eased up on his run to second, Cleveland infielder Josh Naylor may not have had a chance to throw him out on the force play.

But with Verdugo looking back on the play and opting not to slide, Naylor was able to end the inning — with an off-target throw, no less. If Verdugo hustled, the Red Sox could have had runners on first and second with Justin Turner at the plate.

Boston did not score another run en route to its seventh loss in its last 10 contests. The Red Sox have been hampered over the last few weeks by lapses in execution across the diamond, especially on defense.

Given Boston’s already extended offensive woes, Verdugo’s lack of effort on an inning-ending sequence might have been the last straw for Alex Cora.

Verdugo, who is batting .286 with five home runs and 24 RBI over 59 games, will be replaced in Boston’s lineup on Thursday by right fielder Rob Refsnyder.


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