Rafael Devers, diesel starter

Rafael Devers was out of the Red Sox’s starting lineup against the Orioles yesterday, replaced by Marwin Gonzalez at third base.

What is happening with Devers?

This could be a normal day off early in the season, but more likely a mental break after several defensive failures so far in the opening weekend. The 24-year-old is 6-0 in two games and Boston manager Alex Cora may just be trying to give Devers a break to get back on track to the series with the Rays starting Monday.

In Boston they expect a second wind from Devers, confident in the sentence that is not how it begins but how it ends.

THE PERSEVERANCE OF YERMÍN. Yermín Mercedes is 28 years old and has been active in professional baseball for a decade. He signed with the Nationals as in March 2011 at the age of 18. He spent the 2014 season in the independent league after being released by the Nats in August 2013. And he didn’t even play in the high-profile independent leagues. He had to try to work his way back into the United and Pecos leagues in the American Southwest. He hit 17 home runs and compiled a 1,124 OPS in 61 combined games at that level. Those numbers caught the attention of the Orioles, who signed him as a minor league free agent in September 2014.

Three years after that, the White Sox took him in the 2017 Minor League Rule 5 Draft. He remained a hitting machine in the minors as he continued to work on his defense. At Triple-A in 2019 (17 home runs, 1,033 OPS at Charlotte). Mercedes got an invite to the alternate White Sox site last season and then made his MLB debut with an at-bat on August 2, 2020. In 2021, in his first two games, he fired 8 straight hits, the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to start a season with that production, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

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I PERDOMO THE 814. The first Dominican rookie this year is shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and 814 for life. A 21-year-old native of Santo Domingo, belongs to Arizona and in Lidom to the Bulls.

TODAY’S FAVORITES: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Yankees.

A DAY LIKE TODAY: 2010: Albert Pujols, the 2009 MVP, starts the year with two home runs and the Cardinals beat the Reds 11-6.

2010: In his first start with the Phillies, Roy Halladay throws seven strong innings to lead the club to an 11-1 victory over Washington in the presence of President Barack Obama.

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