The experts talk about starting fast in an MLB season
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox' Opening Day roster is coming into view.
Alex Cora announced Monday morning that the team was sending both infielder Bobby Dalbec and catcher Jorge Alfaro to Triple-A Worcester. The moves means Yu Chang - who has yet to play in a Grapefruit League after leaving for the World Baseball Classic - and Connor Wong will be making the initial 26-man roster.
Chang's first spring training game will come Monday against the Braves, with the utility infielder manning second and hitting ninth.
"He played good shortstop. He can play third, we knew that. He can play first," said Cora of Dalbec, who entered 2022 as the Red Sox' starting first baseman. Offensively, just be more aggressive and not try and do too much. This is a guy we valued. But where we are at right now, this is the position we took."
The manager added, "We believe (Chang) is ready. He will play today. Physically, he's in a good spot. Obviously his at-bats have been limited. But he has done enough in between the tournament and camp to stay in shape. It's hard, right, because the optics are, 'Man, Bobby has been here the whole time.' But we knew this was a possibility. The fact he has experience at shortstop helps. We just have to make sure he goes through the whole process and stays healthy."
The last two remaining spots still in question are the final member of Sox' bullpen - a position freed up because of the injury to lefty Joely Rodriguez - and the last outfielder.
Kaleb Ort, who is on the 40-man roster, would seem to be the favorite to become the final reliever unless a move is made to secure someone outside the organization or non-roster lefties Ryan Sherriff or Oddanier Mosqueda are considered.
The final outfield spot will come down to Jarren Duran and Ramiel Tapia, who is not on the 40-man roster.
"If it was in ’18, probably a tougher discussion," Cora said of the news delivered to Dalbec. "You feel for the all these guys. But at the end, you have to tell them how it is. But the more honest you are with them, the more they respect you. Is he disappointed? Of course. I was in that situation in 2012 and (Mike) Matheny called me into the office and was like, hey, this is it. I wanted to kill the guy. And then I coached his kid here and I was like, 'Wow, this is great. You know, your dad, send me send me home and retired me and now I get to coach you.' It happens with you guys in your business, it happens here. It’s not easy. But one thing for sure, he's not gonna stop working. And that's something we told him you know, like from the get go, he knew the situation. And you saw him ,the effort yesterday, his last out was a ground ball and he busted his butt to first base and you appreciate that.This is where we at right now. He's going to be part of it at one point. For us to accomplish the things that we were set to do, it’s more than 26 guys. Bobby is still a good player. And I think the at bats are going to help him. He just got to be ready, you know, and whenever we call his name, if we needed it, just be ready to come here and contribute."