Now starting at second base… Christian Vazquez? Let Alex Cora explain


BOSTON — Christian Vazquez grew up in Puerto Rico playing pretty much every position on the diamond in the way that kids do. So how about second base?

"Third base," Vazquez acknowledged.

Well, there's a first time for everything. With weather impacting the field and necessitating the move of Dustin Pedroia from second base to DH, and with backup Eduardo Nunez unavailable to start for undisclosed reasons, Vazquez is making his big league debut at second in Monday's marathon matinee against the Orioles.

"It's fun, it's first time I'm going to start a game in the infield," Vazquez said. "Couple of injuries yesterday so I'm here. . . . I started my career in the minor leagues, my first year, two years, second year, at third base. Piece of cake."

Vazquez is one of the dominoes that resulted from left fielder Andrew Benintendi fouling a ball off his foot on Sunday. With Benintendi sore, manager Alex Cora opted to start Blake Swihart in left and Steve Pearce at DH.

The conditions gave him a second thought on Pedroia, however, and the second baseman moved to DH, with Swihart catching and Pearce going to left. That created a hole at second base. Enter Vazquez, who was signed as a catcher/third baseman and still takes daily ground balls at third.

He played nine games at third base and one at second in the minors. He has made four appearances at third base in the big leagues, and even donned a first baseman's mitt in the 18-inning World Series Game 3 last October.

"Played a little bit in the minor leagues, last year in the World Series," Vazquez said. "But it's not going to be tough. If there's a ground ball, I'm going to block it, so, I've got a cup. Don't worry."

Cora wouldn't specify if Nunez is injured, though he clarified that he's not sick, like center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who's sidelined with the flu. That said, Cora enjoyed the outside-the-box thinking that went into this lineup.

"I had plenty of fun," he said. "These are the days that you really enjoy being a manager. It's a challenge and, hey, we're ready to play.

"Where we at roster wise, and Christian has been taking groundballs at second and at short and at third. He's caught three in a row or four in a row or whatever it is. We're comfortable with him as far as making the routine play. He can turn the double play. He played first base in the World Series. That's the biggest stage in this sport. And the first play he made was a step back with the game on the line, a flip to first. He wants to do it, he likes to do it, and we're going with him."

Added Vazquez, when asked how he responded to the news that he'd be donning a second-base mitt: "I said, 'OK, I'm in. Let's go.'"

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