Alejandro De Aza has flashed ‘the De Aza way’ and Red Sox like it
|06.30.15 at 1:00 am ET|
“That’s the De Aza way,” the outfielder explained. “That’s how I like to play the game. I dont like to be lazy in the game because I’m a runner too and I know you give the opposite team runner a chance to advance to the other base. So I do it as quick as I can.”
Since taking over left field for the past five games due to Hanley Ramirez‘ left hand injury, De Aza has been flying around with great success.
Offensively, the 31-year-old has totaled a .474 batting average during his stint as Ramirez’ replacement, hitting three home runs while managing a 1.105 OPS. It is the best production of any left fielder over that span, with De Aza punctuating it during the Red Sox‘ 3-1 win over the Blue Jays Monday night with three hits.
Since joining the Red Sox via a trade from the Orioles — who had designated the outfielder for assignment to free up playing time for Travis Snider — De Aza is hitting .317 with a .968 OPS. In games he has started, the Sox are 9-6.
“If you look back to what he was able to do against us last year while in Baltimore with a defined role, he was a very productive player,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell of De Aza, who was an every day player in each of his last three seasons (with the White Sox and Orioles). “Now that he’s getting regular at-bats, he’s starting to prove that again, and he comes to us at a time when we have a little bit of a rotation in right field, Hanley goes down so the at-bats are there. I can’t say that [playing time is] more than we anticipated, but he gets DFA’ed, obviously, for roster reasons over there, and he’s fit right in here very well.”
Then there is the defense.
De Aza was running all over the Rogers Centre outfield during the Red Sox’ latest win, including a pivotal grab of Jose Bautista’s blast at the left field wall in the sixth inning that almost went out for a game-tying homer.
The defensive aggressiveness has been a dramatic departure from Ramirez’ approach in left field.
So what happens upon Ramirez’ return? The likely scenario in the short-term will see De Aza platooning with Shane Victorino, who is trending toward returning to right field with the Red Sox upon the club’s return to Fenway Park Friday.
“I dont know what was going to be my role, but I’m happy,” De Aza said. “They gave me a chance to play and I’ll try to do my best to keep myself in the lineup.”
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