The Red Sox have hinted at the idea of playing Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield for some time, and on Tuesday night it will become a reality. Following Monday night's victory, Gonzalez volunteered to play the outfield and then spent much of Tuesday preparing to do just that, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
So in part because Kevin Youkilis is back from the DL, in part because Will Middlebrooks is too hot to justify a demotion, in part because the outfield is in tatters (with Cody Ross on the 15-day DL and Ryan Sweeney on the seven-day DL, the Sox now have seven disabled outfielders), and in part because the recalled Scott Podsednik is at best a "break glass in case of emergency" sort, Gonzalez is manning right field against the Orioles.
The Gold-Glove first baseman has just five career appearances in the outfield, but four of those have come since 2011. Gonzalez is athletic enough, but the operating assumption is that he won't be an asset defensively.
As for tonight's particulars, Boston starter Felix Doubront shows modest groundball tendencies, and he tends to allow up-the-middle contact. The Oriole lineup is fairly average in terms of fly-ball percentages, but Camden Yards seems to increase balls-in-play rates and the rate of balls hit to the outfield. All in all, Gonzalez should be in for perhaps a slightly easier night than normal in terms of chances. Of course, anything can happen, particularly in the reduced scope of a single game.
If nothing else, Sox fans should hope this goes better than the last time Bobby Valentine attempted to dislodge a slugger from his natural position and stick him in the outfield.
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