NEW YORK — Manager John Farrell conveyed a message to Mookie Betts and the media regarding the newest member of the fourth-place Boston Red Sox.
“He isn’t looked upon as a savior of the Red Sox,” Farrell said after Betts was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday.
Betts seemingly rose out of nowhere to make his first major league start Sunday in right field during Boston’s 8-5 win over the New York Yankees. Betts went 1-for-3 while collecting his first major league hit, run, walk and catch in right field.
The 21-year-old was not invited to major league spring training, and he is listed in the minor league players section of the Boston media guide.
“I think I’m as ready as I’m gonna get,” Betts said Saturday. “Only time will tell. Only getting out there and playing and learning more will tell if I was ready or not, but the front office thinks I’m ready, so I have to feel like I’m ready as well.”
He played just 23 games at Triple-A after a promotion from the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, and 27 of his 29 games as an outfielder were in center field, which presently is occupied most nights by Jackie Bradley Jr.
In limited action, Betts batted .322 in 90 at-bats with Pawtucket after hitting .355 in 54 games with the Sea Dogs.
Betts’ promotion came after right fielder Shane Victorino experienced a setback in his rehab from a second hamstring injury, so the need is there. Entering Sunday, Boston right fielders were hitting a combined .224, while the Red Sox’s center fielders were batting .201 clip while striking out 162 times and drawing 52 walks.
“When a guy is performing at the level and doing it the way he’s doing it, and controlling the strike zone and performing in all different areas of the game, that kind of guy deserves consideration,” general manager Ben Cherington said of Betts. “We happen to have a need for as many good players as we can get, particularly guys that can move around positions, cover different spots. We talked about it for probably two or three days and just decided it was the right time.”