Moreland out for Red Sox, Hicks for Yanks in Game 3 of ALDS
NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland was out of the lineup for Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the New York Yankees.
Moreland, a left-handed hitter with a good glove, was removed from Game 2 after he hurt his right hamstring running the bases. Right-handed hitter Steve Pearce was set to start at first base Monday night at Yankee Stadium against righty Luis Severino.
“Mitch is available, but he’s not 100 percent,” manager Alex Cora said.
Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks remained out of the lineup after missing Game 2 with tightness in his right hamstring that forced him from the opener Friday night at Fenway Park. New York manager Aaron Boone said Hicks was doing “considerably better,” and sitting him was a much more difficult decision than it was Saturday.
Brett Gardner was back in center for the Yankees, batting ninth, and first baseman Luke Voit was slotted third in the order again. Boone said he wouldn’t hesitate to use Hicks in any role off the bench.
Hicks lobbied to start, but Boone said he felt there was some benefit in waiting at least another day because hamstrings can be fickle and Gardner provides a quality alternative.
“He was more emphatic about wanting to be in there tonight,” Boone said, referring to Hicks. “Hopefully it’s something that benefits him even further.”
With the best-of-five series tied at one game apiece, Cora made a few lineup changes in the wake of Saturday’s 6-2 loss, inserting a couple of left-handed hitters against Severino.
Rafael Devers was at third base instead of Eduardo Nunez, with Brock Holt playing second rather than Ian Kinsler.
“The guy on the mound has to do a lot with it. You look at the numbers, and they don’t look great, but if you look at his numbers throughout his career, lefties have done better against him,” Cora said. “He’s still a tough matchup, but the way Brock was swinging the bat, we do feel he can put good at-bats against him. Hopefully, he can get a hanging slider to right field and put it into the stands. That was the reason.”
With starter Nathan Eovaldi on the mound, Christian Vazquez was tabbed to catch over Sandy Leon.
“With Christian, we feel like offensively he can do a few things in the bottom of the lineup that can help us win a ballgame,” Cora said.
Cora said Moreland had aggressive treatment on his leg during the off day Sunday. He grabbed at his hamstring between third and home while scoring on Ian Kinsler’s seventh-inning double Saturday night and was replaced at first base by Pearce in the eighth.
Moreland, a first-time All-Star this season, batted .245 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs in 124 games. He won a Gold Glove in 2016 with Texas.
Hicks, a switch-hitter, batted .248 with 27 homers and 79 RBIs in 137 games. He had an MRI recently that didn’t show any damage to his hamstring.
Hicks tweaked the same hamstring in late September against Tampa Bay and missed three games.