The Boston Red Sox have optioned outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The roster move was necessitated when DH David Ortiz, who famously dropped an f-bomb during yesterday’s emotional pre-game ceremonies, was activated by the team after completing a rehab assignment. Ortiz suffered an Achilles tendon injury last season.
Given injuries and other unexpected developments over a long season, roster moves are common, and the team must have discussed that possibility with Bradley — who is a highly regarded team player in all respects — when he was promoted before Opening Day.
Bradley, who went from Double-A to the majors, came on strong during Spring Training with a.419 batting average, a.507 on-base percentage, and a.613 slugging percentage and was added to the Red Sox Opening Day roster. Bradley cooled off after after the first three games of the regular season and is currently batting only.097 with three RBI and five runs scored and has been pretty much out of the Sox lineup. Playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox will allow him to play every day and work on his hitting against Triple-A pitchers, some of whom have Major League experience.
Boston is currently in first place in the American League East with a 12-4 record.
Journeymen Daniel Nava and Johnny Gomes are expected to get most of the playing time in left field now that Bradely has been sent to the minors at least for the time being. Nava blasted a game-winning three-run homer (see video embedded below) in yesterday’s matchup against the Kansas City Royals.
Bradley’s status consumed a lot oxygen on sports talk radio in the run-up to Opening Day because of service time and free agent issues under the MLB collective bargaining agreement. Bradley — who is represented by free-agency-obsessed Scott Boras — must spend 20 or more days in the minors otherwise he will become a free agent in 2018 rather than 2019. With his demotion to Triple-A, that debate seems moot.
Bradley, 23, is the Sox outfielder of the future and could take over in center field if Jacoby Ellsbury, another Scott Boras client, leaves Boston in free agency. Bradley was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player when the University of South Carolina won the title in 2010.
Going in the opposite direction, Triple-A pitcher Allen Webster was called up to pitch in the game 2 of today’s day-night doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals (two games are on tap for Sunday as a result of the Friday night’s game being cancelled during the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt). Webster came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in last season’s blockbuster trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to the west coast.