Christian Arroyo’s debut at first base didn’t even last three innings before his breakout season with the Red Sox ran into another painfully unlucky break.
Arroyo’s first career start at first was going smooth until the third, when he stretched for a double play ball and awkwardly went into a split. He was later diagnosed with a left hamstring strain, and manager Alex Cora said after that he’s likely heading to another stint on the injured list.
“He just felt it when he stretched,” Cora said. “It’s a hard one, because we felt he was ready for us to play first but he stretches and that happens. It’s a tough one for him, but we’ll bounce back.”
With Danny Santana set to join the team in Buffalo on Monday as he returns from his own stint on the IL, it seems that would be the corresponding move for Arroyo.
Arroyo had never played first base in his professional career — in the majors and minors — but with the introduction of Jarren Duran in center field pushing Kiké Hernández to second, the Red Sox put Arroyo at first to keep his bat in the lineup. He only started doing work there on Thursday.
Shortly after Arroyo got hurt, Cora was interviewed on the ESPN broadcast and expressed some guilt for what happened.
“First time at first, sometimes you make decisions like this and this happens,” Cora said on ESPN. “I don’t feel good right now about myself, just putting him out there. But he deserved the at-bats, he felt good about playing the position, so we’ll see where it takes us.”
After being picked up off of waivers last season, Arroyo has been a surprise spark for the Red Sox, batting .271 with a .792 OPS and some huge home runs this season. He’s played in 50 games, already a career-high for the 2013 first-round pick, but still far fewer than he’d like. If he does indeed go to the IL, it will be third stint there this season after he suffered hand and knee injuries during the first half.
“It’s frustrating, because it seems like he’s in a groove, swinging the bat well, and then this happens,” Cora said. “We don’t like our guys to get hurt.”