Mookie Betts has proven that athleticism is not something he is lacking this season. He has quick bat speed and learned to play center field very well. Tuesday night he made a great catch running full speed but flipped over the bullpen in right center field. The catch did not count as it was a home run after Betts flipped over the wall, but Betts was diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on the 7 days disabled list on Wednesday and the team called up Jackie Bradley Jr.
Manager John Farrell said Bradley Jr. will be playing center field everyday while Betts is out. The extent to Betts concussion is not known but the Red Sox should not rush Betts back as it already is a lost season, while Betts has been one of the few bright spots.
Obviously no one wants to wish someone to get injured but Bradley Jr. has to relish this opportunity as it looks like Rusney Castillo will be in right field for the remainder of the season. Bradley Jr. has proven he can hit minor league pitching this season as he has been one of the best hitters in the International League for the PawSox. He has also shown power as of late having two, two homer games in the past week. The defense has never been the question with Bradley Jr. it has always been whether he can hit major league pitching.
With Betts on the disabled list this could be the last test Bradley will get with the Red Sox. When Shane Victorino went down with an injury earlier this season the Red Sox acquired Alejandro De Aza instead of bringing up Bradley Jr. obviously not what he wanted and although De Aza has played well in his stint with the Red Sox, they should be playing Bradley, as De Aza will likely be gone after this season.
With the trade deadline Friday afternoon it is likely now Bradley will be still with the Red Sox after he built up some value at Triple-A. With an outfield likely full for next season unless Hanley Ramirez changes positions, this is will an opportunity for Jackie Bradley Jr. to prove he can be a piece off the bench next season.
The Red Sox season is basically over at this point, and now the team is hoping that all of their key pieces can stay relatively healthy until season’s end and they can focus on 2016. That job became much harder last night when Mookie Betts barreled into the Red Sox bullpen attempting to rob a home run. He left the game, and ESPN reports that he now shows symptoms of a concussion after some post-game testing last night. This after de facto captain Dustin Pedroia is on his second stint on the DL with an apparent hamstring injury, and ace (for lack of a better term) Clay Buchholz will be out until mid-September at the earliest with a strained flexor muscle.
This could potentially be a big loss for the team, as he is recognized as the 11th most valuable trade piece behind guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, according to ESPN. John Farrell told ESPN that Mookie Betts has been experiencing light-headedness after the game. Betts will likely be placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list, established a few years ago.
For a team well out of contention, and already suffering key losses, losing one of the best young players in the game is another huge setback, but that’s just how this season has gone for the Red Sox. Nothing is going right on the field, or off the field, en route to a 3rd last place finish in 4 years. If they haven’t already, the Red Sox should start focusing on 2016, and trying to work in as many of their young prospects into the major league roster as they can over the last 2 months. The good news, if any, is that this will open the door for Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr., especially on the heels of the Shane Victorino deal.
I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping this concussion is not too serious, and hoping Betts can get back into the lineup as soon as he can.