Red Sox’ Christian Arroyo could push Bobby Dalbec for playing time at first base

Christian Arroyo hit another game-changing home run on Friday.

Even with Jarren Duran now in the big leagues, it’s going to be difficult for manager Alex Cora to take Arroyo out of the Red Sox lineup.

Arroyo went deep against Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery for a two-run shot in the second inning of the Sox’ 4-0 win. It was his sixth of the year, and it feels like all of them have been momentum-shifters.

Five of his six homers have been when the Sox are within one run of their opponent.

While it seems likely that he will lose playing time with Duran taking over in center field and Kiké Hernandez moving to second base, Arroyo started at second with Hernandez in center against the lefty on Friday.

“Those are things I can’t control,” said Arroyo, who is hitting .270 with a .794 OPS this season. “Jarren is a heck of a player. I got to watch him first-hand in spring training and even more when I was rehabbing a couple times. He brings a dynamic to our team. I’m never going to complain about guys who are going to come up here and contribute to our success.

“I’m here to win baseball games. That’s all I’m concerned with.”

As well as Arroyo has played, he has strong splits that favor his ability against left-handed pitching. He’s not alone. Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe and Bobby Dalbec all have similar splits favoring matchups against lefties, which could make it tough for him to stay in the lineup.

He can also play third base and shortstop, but the Red Sox are doing just fine at those positions.

The Sox have asked Arroyo to learn first base, where he could push Dalbec for playing time.

“If I need to play there and I’m going to help our team win there, that’s what it is,” he said. “I got some good work in with (the coaching staff) the other day. It’s just little things, the things you’re not used to. The picks at first, that’s going to be a little different.

“At the end of the day, you’re fielding ground balls still and just trying to catch the baseball. I don’t think it’ll be too difficult, but again, we’ve got some of the best infield coaches in the league and they’re going to help me any way they can. I can play wherever they need me.”

Cora said Arroyo’s breakout season is because he’s been willing to take his hits to right field. He homered to right-center on Friday.

“When he’s using the big part of the field, he becomes very dangerous,” Cora said. “Got a changeup up in the zone, stayed on it, hit it out of the ballpark. Hit the double down the line. The last at-bat was a good one.

“When he’s not trying to do that much, he is that good. I keep saying, this kid, he was a first-round pick. Those guys are special.There’s a reason he gets selected in the first round. Some of them perform earlier in their career. Others, it takes a while. We’ve been patient with him. He’s done a great job. He’s been amazing in the first part of the season and today was a great start.”

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