Boston Red Sox first baseman Christian Arroyo heads off the field after an injury during the third inning of Sunday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Christian Arroyo can’t catch a break.

The infielder has had a breakthrough season with the Red Sox. Since returning from the injured list July 5 he has been one of Boston’s best hitters, slashing .301/.355/.621 for the month.

Now, he’ll finish the month where he started. On the IL.

The latest injury, which puts Arroyo back on the sideline for the third time this season, came in the third inning Sunday night. It was his first game as a first baseman, a position change created by Manager Alex Cora’s desire to keep Arroyo’s hot bat in the lineup.

Phenom Jarren Duran had arrived over the weekend, bumping Kiké Hernández back to the infield. The dominoes moved Arroyo to a new spot, replacing the struggling Bobby Dalbec at first against left-handed pitchers.

“I’m athletic enough,” Arroyo said before making his debut. “I think I’ll be fine.”


He was athletic enough. In fact, he was too athletic. His full-split attempt at catching a throw led to a left hamstring injury and an early departure. It’s the type of split you rarely see first basemen make. Quite possibly because they know there’s a very strong risk of injury.

“It’s frustrating, right, because it seems like he’s in a groove, he’s swinging the bat well, and then this happens,” Cora said.

Arroyo has had to prove himself time and time again over the course of his career. He was the 25th overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft, and was called up to the majors at age 22. By 2017 he seemed ready to become the Giants’ second baseman, but was hit by a pitch and missed the rest of the season. It was the second time he was hit by a pitch and sent to the injured list.

Boston’s Christian Arroyo is helped off the field by trainer Brandon Henry after colliding with outfielder Kiké Hernández during a game in Kansas City on June 20. The mishap landed Arroyo on the injured list for the second time this season; on Monday, he was placed on the injured list for a third time. Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

He was later the key piece in the trade for Evan Longoria, another reminder of his potential. But he never was able to crack a Rays lineup loaded with young talent. Soon he was placed on waivers, claimed by Cleveland, and then returned to the waiver wire. Chaim Bloom, who had traded for him in Tampa, jumped on the chance to grab him as a replacement to Dustin Pedroia.

It was a great signing. Arroyo has regained his form at the plate and been outstanding in the field. Yet he was hit by pitches twice with the Red Sox. And now this.

For his three innings at first base, Arroyo was forced to use a first baseman’s mitt he borrowed from Christian Vázquez. Arroyo was waiting for Wilson to send him his own.


We’ll see if he gets to use it. With the MLB trade deadline less than two weeks away Bloom may decide to make a move for a left-handed hitting first baseman to platoon with Dalbec, who has shown great power but has been striking out in 38.6% of his at bats as a major leaguer.

Boston’s offense, which has powered the way to a surprising first half, has struggled of late. The Red Sox lost 6 of 8 games heading into Monday’s opener with the Blue Jays. Bloom and Cora need to do something to spark a lineup that is suddenly slumping. The Sox spend the rest of July playing the Yankees, Jays and Rays – the three teams chasing them in the American League East. Their hold on the top spot has been slipping.

Arroyo will help when he returns, but that won’t be soon. And when he does return there may be even more competition for playing time on the infield.

That won’t faze him. He’s been proving himself since the day he became a professional.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

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