He was undoubtedly the most under-publicized player involved in the Mookie Betts trade. But Connor Wong is starting get some attention.
The catcher -- who figures to start the season with Triple-A Worcester -- gets the start Tuesday with Martin Perez on the mound for the Red Sox against the Rays.
"I mean, he’s another guy that slows down the game," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora regarding Wong. "You could see (Sunday) we had a bad inning, he comes in, kind of like a present about him. He studies the game. He talks the game, which is very important for a catcher. It seemed like he never panicked back there. He keeps working on that one knee down stance. Really good hands. Talking to Enrique (Hernandez) about it, position player that, he’s a catcher now, there’s something that it seems like they like in the West Coast with Smith and Barnes. This kid can do it, too. Good hands. It’s very smooth. Offensively, he understands what he can do, but I really like the fact that communication is number one in his defensive game. You see him in the dugout talking to Jason (Varitek), to the pitchers. For a young guy to be able to do that right now is eye-opening. It was fun to watch him perform (Sunday)."
Some other interesting aspects of Cora's lineup:
- Hernandez gets another shot at the leadoff spot, with Cora saying he wanted to see how his propensity to hunt early-count fastballs translated.
- Jarren Duran won't be the Red Sox' No. 2 hitter when the season begins, but the outfielder's presence in the spot shows how Cora is viewing the prospect.
- It will be interesting to see if Michael Chavis' plays more first base than any other spot. He's back there for Tuesday's game.
- Yairo Munoz represents a very interesting depth option for the Red Sox, one with built-in major league experience (208 games). He impressed during his short stint with the big league team last season, hitting .333 (15-for-45) with an .844 OPS, playing exclusively in the outfield.
"He has the ingredients and to me as a hitting coach it's what he swings at," Hyers said of the 25-year-old Munoz when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast. "He's a very aggressive hitter and he can put bat to ball, but as they make adjustments to him, the league, and they see what they can and what he can't do can he make those adjustments to be consistent.
"We talk around the cages that it's surviving. Survive the day. Survive the week. Survive for certain pitchers that you don't match up with very well with. Can you make those adjustments. That's what we're trying to work with him on. That's our responsibility with him to help him see some of the things that teams are doing to him. But talent-wise, he has the talent to hit. He's got bat speed. He's got bat-to-ball skills. He's aggressive. He's got lot of things you like, but can you put those things together consistently day in and day out? The jury is out."