Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been shut down with a sore shoulder, but should be throwing again in a few days, according to Manager Alex Cora. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Xander Bogaerts won’t be making his spring training debut with the rest of the Red Sox regulars this week.

Bogaerts has a sore shoulder, a product of being too aggressive ramping up his arm with the team’s throwing program, according to Manager Alex Cora. Bogaerts has been resting for a few days now and the team expects him to continue to be shut down for a little while longer.

“He rushed himself with his throwing program during the offseason,” Cora said. “With everything that is going on with the virus, there were a few things that he wasn’t able to do in Aruba because of lockdowns or whatever they had going on down there, for the right reasons. So it wasn’t a regular offseason in that end.”

Cora said Bogaerts was able to hit regularly in Aruba this winter, but “his throwing program wasn’t perfect.”

“So he rushed himself,” Cora said. “He was sore for a few days. We shut him down. He should be back to throwing in the next couple of days. He will take ground balls and all that. The hitting part, he’ll be OK in a few days, too. We’ve just got to be patient. We’ve got plenty of days. We’ve got, what, 30 more days? So as of now, we do feel he should be ready for Opening Day.”

Bogaerts, 28, has been on the injured list just once in his eight-year career, when he fractured his ankle in 2018. He’s otherwise been a model of health and a durable everyday shortstop who has played all but 11 games the last two seasons.

WHILE BOGAERTS RECOVERS, the Sox have used Kiké Hernandez, Jeter Downs and Christian Arroyo at shortstop.

Downs, one of the organization’s top prospects who was acquired in the second version of the Mookie Betts trade last February, is considered to be more of a second baseman. He homered in his first spring training at-bat on Sunday. Cora said he and Jason Varitek were joking that Downs and catcher Connor Wong, also acquired in the Betts trade, were making Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom look good on Sunday.

“They’re making him look smarter than a year ago,” Cora said. “Slowing down the game seems like it’s natural for (Downs). It’s a slow pace, slow heartbeat. He crushed that ball to right field. He did. Then the at-bat, the next one, it was a good swing up the middle. Two days ago, we were having that simulated game with Eduardo (Rodriguez) on the mound. For how cool and smooth as he is, someone hit a rocket, I think it was Marwin (Gonzalez), to his right, and right away, he dove for it.

“So, it’s there. He gets it.”

ARROYO PLAYED A lot of second base for the Red Sox late in the season in 2020 and will get a chance to push for a big league roster spot this spring, especially given he’s out of minor league options. Arroyo, 26, is a former first-round pick who was claimed off waivers from the Indians and hit .240 with a .736 OPS in 14 games with the Sox.

“He made some strides offensively,” Cora said. “That’s what everybody feels last year. He’s a good defender at second base. I watched a lot. He’s able to turn the double play. But versatility is going to be a factor and he knows it.

“We do believe he can handle short. He can make all the routine plays and let’s see how much the offense is going to be a part of his game. But yesterday he had two good at-bats, drove one to center field. Physically he’s a lot better than where he was last year. A better athlete than what I thought watching him on TV.”

Arroyo is likely competing with Michael Chavis and Jonathan Arauz for the final roster spot. Chavis homered on Sunday. The 25-year-old Chavis is also a former first-rounder who hit .212 with a .636 in a tough year at the plate last season.

“We know what he can do, we know the type of hitter he is, he just needs to close down some holes from his swing,” Cora said. “Like I’ve been saying all along, strikeouts are just an out in certain situations, but the other situations, we need to make contact. That’s one part of the game he needs to get better at and he knows it.

“Defensively, he played third yesterday, he’s playing first today, we’ll put him at second. We’ll keep trying the left field thing. It’s a big spring for him too and he knows it. He knows the personnel that we have, the guys that we added and the versatility. But he can do those things too. When he punishes the ball, it goes a long way. But he needs to become a better hitter and he works hard.”


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