Why Red Sox are playing Ceddanne Rafaela at SS

Just a week after receiving an eight-year extension worth $50 million, Boston Red Sox rookie Ceddanne Rafaela is starting his first game at shortstop.

Rafaela has played 15 games in the outfield this year and has made five appearances at second base.

While Boston could certainly use his defense at shortstop, that’s not the reason they’re using him at the position on Monday.

Prior to the series opener against the Cleveland Guardians, manager Alex Cora said the decision was actually more about getting Wilyer Abreu at-bats.

“(Rafaela) will play short, We’ll use him at short,” said Cora (transcribed by MassLive). “(But) this is not about the shortstop thing. This is about getting Abreu at-bats. I’m telling you, Willie has to play. So this is the way we’re going to find at-bats for him. Against righties, he will play every day. So we’ll find a way. We’ll move people around, but he will play against righties.”

Boston was high on Abreu entering the season, but he’s hit just .231 with a .618 OPS to start the year. The Red Sox are hoping that getting him regular opportunities will help him find a rhythm.

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