BOSTON (CBS) — After a red hot start to the season, Red Sox rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi is trying to work his way out of a big league slump.
After hitting .339 with five homers and 22 RBIs in his first 31 games, Benintendi is batting just .125 with five RBIs and one extra-base hit in his last 19 games. The slump has caused Boston manager John Farrell to sit Benintendi and turn to veteran Chris Young, who is beginning to take some starts from the rookie even when a lefty starter is on the mound for Boston’s opposition.
Benintendi saw one at-bat in Thursday’s 7-5 loss to the Orioles, pinch-hitting for Young and flying out to center in the top of the eighth. But Farrell made it clear that Benintendi is not part of a platoon with Young.
“I think when we go through a stretch where there’s maybe two, three games where you take advantage of your roster, all of a sudden it becomes a platoon,” said Farrell. “He’s not a platoon player. But you pick spots where guys can maybe spark an offense with Chris Young being inserted. I don’t see him as a platoon player.”
Farrell discussed the change that opposing pitchers have made with their approach to Benintendi after his hot start.
“There’s been, I think a heavy dose of constant changing of speeds,” said Farrell. “He’s been respected because he does show power. At times, you see him in the middle of that, maybe caught in between on speeds at times. But still, good-looking young player with a great swing. And when we look back after this full season, his numbers will be right in line where we kind of projected them to be.”
Farrell remains confident that his rookie left fielder will bust out of his slump in the near future.
“No doubt about it,” he said. “He came to us on a roll as every young player does and there’s not a lot known on him. Now that the book gets out and you see certain ways pitchers are attacking him, that’s all part of a young guy getting established every day.”
Benintendi came into the Majors with a bang, and opposing pitchers made their adjustments. Now it’s time for Benintendi to do the same.