Stephen Drew's return to Boston will be felt all over the Red Sox infield.
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Drew, who re-signed with the club nearly two weeks ago, will be recalled by the Red Sox in time for Monday's game, it was reported Sunday. The shortstop had been playing with Triple-A Pawtucket in recent days to knock some of the rust off, going 5-for-21 over his 10-day stay. Garin Cecchini, who was recalled for Sunday's game, was sent back down to Triple-A to make room for Drew.
Assuming he's immediately inserted into the starting lineup, Drew's presence will require Red Sox manager John Farrell to do some rearranging around the infield. It was always assumed that a Drew return would force Xander Bogaerts to slide over to third base, and that will be the case. The added eligibility in leagues where he's not already 3B-eligible will be helpful, but he'll still be better utilized at shortstop for fantasy owners -- despite a high average and on-base percentage the 21-year-old isn't hitting for much power, batting .296/.389/.427 on the year.
More noteworthy is the effect the changes have on surprising rookie Brock Holt. Filling in at the hot corner, the 25-year-old has hit .337/.385/.500 with a home run, three stolen bases and 12 runs scored in 86 at-bats this year. That includes going 4-for-4 with four doubles and two RBI on Sunday.
With Bogaerts set to bogart his position, Holt will be looking for a new home on the diamond. Farrell said one thing's for certain -- Drew's return won't spell an end to Holt's starting role.
"No, because when Stephen comes to us, we've said many times, he's coming back to play shortstop for us," Farrell said. "He gives us another very good major league player on the roster, but evident by putting Brock Holt at first base today, we're going to find ways to keep him on the field."
As Farrell said, Holt made his first major league start at first base on Sunday, and he's also learning to play the outfield. When Mike Napoli comes off the disabled list it could force a tougher decision for Farrell, but for the time being it appears the guys producing in Boston will be allowed to continue to produce.
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Cruz (Wrist) Day-To-Day
On Sunday, the Astros discovered one way to neutralize Nelson Cruz' ridiculously hot bat -- hit him before he hits you.
A Scott Feldman pitch got away and plunked Cruz on the left hand, forcing Cruz' early exit. Cruz was taken to a local hospital for X-rays, which were negative. The Orioles are calling him day-to-day with a contusion.
"I have to [wait] until tomorrow to see how I feel," Cruz said of playing Tuesday's opener against the Rangers. "I tried to stay in the game, but I can't hold the bat. So hopefully tomorrow it is better."
Cruz isn't the only one hoping he's able to go as soon as possible. The 33-year-old has been among the best hitters in baseball through the season's first two months, hitting .314/.384/.672 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI. He leads all American League hitters in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and OPS, and he's in the top 10 in batting average and runs scored as well. In short, he's been tremendous.
He may need one or two more days before returning, but it shouldn't be enough of an issue to prompt a roster move of some sort for the Orioles. He was replaced in right field by David Lough on Sunday, and one of Lough or Delmon Young is likely to get an extra start or two while Cruz recovers.
Pitchers Steal The Show On Sunday
Sunday was marked with some strong pitching performances.
None were stronger than Roenis Elias' first career shutout against the Tigers. Elias limited the Tigers to just three hits and a walk in the complete-game win, striking out eight in the process. The nice game left him with a 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 65/27 K/BB ratio in 74 innings of work this year. Not bad for a guy who had to make the rotation out of spring.
One guy who didn't have much to prove in spring, Chris Sale, fell just short of Elias' feat in a dominant performance of his own. The left-hander allowed just two hits and didn't walk a batter while going the distance, with a Chase Headley homer the only run against. He's been nearly unhittable this year, as Sunday's gem lowered his ERA and WHIP to 1.59 and 0.60, respectively.
Phil Hughes had an opportunity to show the Yankees what they let walk out the door, and he didn't disappoint. The right-hander threw eight strong innings, allowing two runs and picking up the win against his former team. It was a bit of vengeance for the 27-year-old, but he's hardly needed the motivation this season -- with Sunday's win, Hughes owns a 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 56/8 K/BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings this year. The Twins have won his last eight starts.
And those performances were just the tip of the iceberg. Jon Lester twirled seven shutout innings, striking out 12 in a victory; Yu Darvish had a similar strikeout total over eight scoreless innings in a win over the Nationals; and ageless Tim Hudson had little trouble with the Cardinals, tossing seven shutout innings in a lopsided win.
National League Quick Hits: Buster Posey returned to the Giants' lineup on Sunday, finishing 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Posey had missed the previous three games due to a back injury ... A.J. Pollock will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks due to a broken hand. He suffered the injury when he was hit with a pitch from Johnny Cueto on Saturday ... Jenrry Mejia allowed a solo home run but was able to close out the Phillies to earn the save. He's now a perfect 6-for-6 in save chances this year ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday. Salty took a foul ball off the mask in Saturday's game, and the hope is that he'll be ready to return once his seven days are up ... Pedro Alvarez went 2-for-3 with three RBI in Sunday's win over the Dodgers ... In case you haven't heard, Oscar Taveras is real, and he's spectacular.
American League Quick Hits: Wil Myers was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 31, with a sprained right wrist. He'll have an examination by a St. Petersburg doctor, after which more information on the injury and his timeline should be available. It's not the worst timing for the 23-year-old, as he's struggled to a .227/.313/.354 line this season ... Manny Machado hit a grand slam in Sunday's win. The shot was his third of the year, but he's still hitting .230/.285/.327 through 28 games ... Mike Carp was placed on the disabled list with a broken right foot. He was replaced by Daniel Nava on the 25-man roster ... Mike Moustakas is back in the majors. No, seriously guys, this is the time. I can feel it. Wait, where's everyone going?