Lack of right-field production not unnoticed

Lack of right-field production not unnoticed

Lack of right-field production not unnoticed
PHILADELPHIA -- It's a very small sample size, but Josh Reddick's play has given the Red Sox what they've been hard-pressed to find out of their right fielders: offensive production.

"Right field for us, so far this year, that's certainly a spot where we're not producing as much," general manager Theo Epstein said Wednesday. "Concerned? I wouldn't say concerned as much as, obviously, we've noticed. You'd have to be blind not to notice that we're not getting much out of right field."

Reddick, 24, entered Wednesday night's game against the Phillies hitting .414, with one home run, three doubles and a triple in 12 games. Whether the left-handed hitter can sustain that success full-time, though, isn't an easy answer to extrapolate from those numbers, and the same can be said of how long he'll remain on the big league roster. When Carl Crawford returns from a strained left hamstring, Reddick, who has options, could return to Triple-A Pawtucket.

"We haven't made any decisions yet about that," Epstein said. "We're just trying to get our team as healthy as we can. Josh has played very well. More so than any stats or anything, it's really nice to see his maturation, especially with his approach at the plate. ... Whether he ends up playing a really big part on the team in the coming months or whether he ends up contributing later on, all that remains to be seen."

Crawford's return date isn't set yet, and it's looking like it won't be on Sunday in Houston, the earliest he can be activated from the 15-day disabled list. Regardless, the Sox will be faced with a decision: are they content going forward with J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald manning right? Do they want Reddick in the mix, or someone else from inside or outside the organization? Ryan Kalish, who's recovering from a left shoulder injury he suffered in April, had a setback with what Epstein described as "a neck trap type injury that has been a nuisance for him."

Hitting .232 with a .330 on-base percentage and four home runs, Drew hasn't played since Sunday, when he left a 4-2 loss to the Pirates early because of a foul ball that caught him in the left eye during batting practice. With left-hander Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies on Thursday, the left-handed-hitting Drew could be out at least one more day.

For Epstein, the Red Sox can only improve in right field, whether they trade for help or not, and he cited how well the club has done on a whole offensively.

"These things all work themselves out," Epstein said. "It's not like we have to make a decision about, 'This player gets 200 at-bats the rest of the way and this player gets 100 at-bats the rest of the way.' It works itself out naturally over the course of a whole season. I guess I am encouraged by the fact that we can be where we are offensively without much, if anything at all, out of right field. It will get better. There's no way we're going to have the same production the rest of the year that we've had so far. We'll improve internally. And who knows? There's a chance we'll improve at certain spots externally at some point, too."

Speaking generally of the trade market, Epstein said the Red Sox would be active, but he did not address whether payroll could be added and cautioned against expecting a blockbuster.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.