Repko out; Sox seek outfield help

April, 21, 2012
BOSTON -- Jason Repko (left shoulder) is the latest injured Red Sox outfielder, and manager Bobby Valentine confirmed Saturday that the team is actively pursuing a trade that would help fortify the thin position, with Cubs veteran Marlon Byrd surfacing in rumors.

“Talks with a team have been good from what I gather,” said Valentine in his daily media briefing, referring to general manager Ben Cherington’s pursuit of a replacement.

“Ben will try to get as good a player as he can get,” said Valentine. “It’s difficult when you’re looking in April as we are.”

If the Sox do swing a deal for Byrd, they will be getting an older player (he turns 35 at the end of August) and one who has gotten off to a miserable start (3 for 43, .070).

Boston already was missing left fielder Carl Crawford when the season began. He had left wrist surgery in the offseason and suffered a strained left elbow during spring training. On Opening Day at Fenway Park, on April 13, center fielder and offensive sparkplug Jacoby Ellsbury suffered a subluxation of his right (non-throwing) shoulder and was placed on the disabled list.

Crawford has begun playing in extended spring games as a hitter but has yet to play in the field, though he could be out there soon, according to Valentine. He's been working with ex-major league outfielder Brian McRae, who is a baseball operations consultant with the Red Sox. Crawford hit a home run Saturday, Valentine said, and will be evaluated in Boston in the next few days before getting clearance to play in the outfield.

Ellsbury is lost for six to eight weeks.

Repko, who had been called up from Pawtucket earlier in the week to plug the hole created by Ellsbury’s absence, suffered a slight separation of his left shoulder while making a dazzling diving catch during Friday’s game against the Yankees. Repko’s momentum caused him to crash into the wall after gloving the ball.

Will Repko be placed on the DL?

“No,” said Valentine haltingly. “Not today. We’ll find out in a couple of days about “slight” -- more “slight” or less “slight.” He has limited role duty [Saturday].”

In the meantime, Valentine has been forced to juggle his outfield. He had defensively challenged Cody Ross in center again Saturday, with Darnell McDonald in left and Ryan Sweeney in right. His outfield options off the bench were limited -- utilityman Nate Spears and infielder Mike Aviles, who had worked out in right field in the offseason. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez also has a little experience in the outfield.



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