Expect Andrew Benintendi to be the leadoff hitter for Boston, but some of the new faces in Boston give the Red Sox some flexibility, especially against lefties. Gail Burton/Associated Press


Andrew Benintendi will likely be the Red Sox’ leadoff hitter on Opening Day on Friday, and he’ll probably keep that role for most of the 60-game season.

Add in Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez hitting behind him and it makes for an explosive top of the order.

But Manager Ron Roenicke knows he has options beyond Benintendi, particularly if the Red Sox are facing a left-handed pitcher and he decides he wants to break up the left-handed bats of Benintendi and Devers with a righty.

If he does, Roenicke likes some of his new options.

Roenicke mentioned outfielder Kevin Pillar and second baseman Jose Peraza, both acquired by the Red Sox in the offseason, as two players he could plug in at the top of the order.

“I know Pillar can do it,” Roenicke said. “I feel good with him up there against the left-handers. And then we’ll just kind of see. We’ll see how Peraza hits, he’s a possibility. He’s a guy that I’m familiar with that used to be a good baserunner, good base-stealer. So if he gets it back, he can do it. So I think we have some options.”

Peraza is an intriguing option. The infielder has impressed offensively during summer camp at Fenway Park after making some small adjustments with his swing during the shutdown. Roenicke has noted Peraza’s swing looks “unbelievable” as the second baseman looks to return to his 2018 form in which he hit .288 with 31 doubles, 14 homers and 23 stolen bases.

Peraza owns a .323 on-base percentage in 95 career games started at the leadoff spo. He has a career .333 OBP against lefties, which isn’t far off from Benintendi’s .327 mark. But Benintendi has hit well during camp and Roenicke said he feels comfortable with him in the leadoff role.

Down the line, Roenicke said he also likes newcomer Alex Verdugo’s potential at the top of the order.

“I think he has everything you would need in a leadoff hitter,” Roenicke said. “When he starts finding his rhythm and his timing and he gets confident, I think we can put him anywhere whether it’s leadoff, second, fifth, sixth, seventh. Wherever that is, I think, offensively he could do a good job.”


Roenicke said shortstop Xander Bogaerts is “fine” after tweaking his hamstring and leaving the Red Sox’ intrasquad game on Sunday. He came in to see the training staff on Monday and is expected to play in the first of two exhibition games against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Roenicke said most of the regulars will play Tuesday and then go nine innings in Wednesday night’s exhibition game before a day off Thursday and Opening Day on Friday.


The Red Sox’ 30-man roster for Opening Day has mostly been decided, Roenicke said, with just a few spots left to figure out. The manager and his staff are still discussing whether they will carry three catchers, and they’re still figuring out how the puzzle pieces will fit with their fourth and fifth spots in the pitching rotation, and who works better as a starter, opener or in a middle reliever role.

“We have a lot of guys we talk about that can do those three-, four-inning roles,” Roenicke said. “That’s what we’re looking at now in trying to decide, again, what fits better in the bullpen, whether it is a right-hander or a left-hander, whether it’s length, whether it’s a two-inning guy, but we’re looking at all that and looking at the guys and what we think they can do for us.”

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