Morning Sports Update

Kiké Hernández discussed his contract status, goals for 2022 season

"I know I can be better. So that’s what we’re trying to do this year."

Kike Hernandez
Red Sox players greet Kike Hernandez at home plate after his ALDS-winning sacrifice fly-ball against the Rays in Oct. 2021. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The Celtics defeated the Bulls 117-94 on Wednesday, with Jaylen Brown scoring 25 points (in what was his 10th consecutive game with at least 25 points). Boston will face the Bucks in Milwaukee tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Bruins will play the Lightning tomorrow in Tampa at 7 p.m.

And the Red Sox 2022 season opener will get underway tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. after it was delayed 24 hours due to rain.

Kiké Hernández on his 2022 outlook: In 2021, Kiké Hernández became a Red Sox fan favorite for his postseason heroics.

In the team’s run to the American League Championship Series, Hernández hit .408 in 49 at-bats, totaling a 1.260 OPS with five home runs and nine RBIs in 11 games.

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Hernández — who arrived in Boston after six seasons playing a variety of roles for the Dodgers — thinks his time in Los Angeles should be understood in context.

“I think people knew I wasn’t an everyday player [with the Dodgers] just based on the team that I was on,” Hernández told Christopher Smith of MassLive. “I feel like a lot of teams knew the talent that I had. It’s not like I was a bad player in L.A. But a team filled with superstars, you’ve also got to understand your role.”

Looking back at 2021, Hernández said he enjoyed it while still appreciating there is room for improvement.

“It was a little satisfying last year,” he explained, “but I’m not necessarily content. I know I can be better. So that’s what we’re trying to do this year.”

As for his contract status, Hernández is one of several players (including, most prominently, Xander Bogaerts) who are set to hit free agency following the season.

“I would be more than willing to stay,” said Hernández. “That’s obviously out of my control. They also have some bigger fish to extend before me. I understand that. I think once the season starts, it’s time to play baseball and focus just on baseball and leave the outside distractions for later.”

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Trivia: Can you name this former Red Sox player based on the following clues:

He was originally drafted by the Expos.

He was a World Series winner in 1997.

He was traded to the Red Sox at the deadline in 2002, but left after just half a season to sign with the Mets.

(Answer at the bottom).

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On this day: In 2013, Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs in a 13-0 rout of defending Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays. Daniel Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mike Napoli also added home runs as well.

Daily highlight: Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid against Chelsea in the first leg of the two teams’ Champions League quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday. His second goal was a perfectly placed header as Madrid won, 3-1.

Trivia answer: Cliff Floyd

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