Up until recently, Christian Arroyo certainly wasn't viewed as a big chunk of the solution when it came to this Red Sox problem.
That narrative has officially changed.
In the 19 games Arroyo has played since returning from the injured list, he is hitting .397 with a .977 OPS, getting a chance to play second base - a position he still hasn't made a major league error at - on a regular basis.
The latest reminder of what Arroyo can do came in the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards Saturday when he rattled off three more hits, including the ninth-inning RBI double which proved to be the difference for Alex Cora's club.
“Like, right now, I’ve been calling him Cal Ripken,” Cora told reporters. “Like, ‘Let’s keep going, kid.’ I’ll check on him always, like, ‘How do you feel?’ Of course, he’s going to say ‘I’m ready.’ But the medical staff and the support staff, they’ve been amazing with him and he’s done an amazing job.”
The manager added, "Like I always said, he was a high pick and talented, very talented. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He hits for average. He’s a good defender and all that. The problem has been the injuries. To be honest with you, when he’s the only guy playing [a position] like that, when he’s the main guy, we can play him a lot. When he’s run into trouble is when he’s the utility guy and he doesn't play for a few days, that’s when he has issues."
The story when it comes to Arroyo has been repeated on a loop the last few years. He's the first-round draft pick who never quite got his chance until he finally did and then injuries pushed his momentum off the tracks.
Then came the Trevor Story signing.
What was going to be Arroyo's big chance - serving as the Red Sox' starting second baseman for the 2022 season - once again took an unexpected turn, with the 27-year-old being relegated a position (right field) he had absolutely no familiarity with.
Suddenly, the at-bats were once again few and far between, with whatever action he did get accompanied by defensive uncertainty.
But with Story out of the equation due to his wrist injury, Arroyo has once again gotten an opportunity to shine a light on what makes his existence so intriguing.
“When I was coming back this time, it was obviously a little different with Trevor down, so it was important to put myself in a position to feel good every day,” Arroyo told reporters. “There’s little things. After the game, consistently getting in the cold tub, getting stretched out, coming in early, making sure I get on top of it instead of just letting things build up. I’ve got a good routine going on, and hats off to everyone behind the scenes. I can’t do this stuff alone.”
As we head into the season's final month(s), Arroyo's future remains a question mark.
In the here and the now, even if Story comes back it would behoove to find Arroyo at-bats - perhaps at the designated hitter spot J.D. Martinez is currently having a difficult time producing in. And as for next season, if Xander Bogaerts leaves, that might lead the Red Sox to roll out a middle infield of Story and Arroyo.
All of it seems so uncertain. The only lock-solid reality is that Arroyo has proved himself to be a player who can function both offensively and defensively at the major league level.