Red Sox DH says he misses playing in the outfield

Masataka Yoshida, the promising addition to the Boston Red Sox from Japan, made headlines last year with a lucrative five-year, $90 million contract. His debut season in MLB saw him perform solidly, boasting a .289 batting average, a .783 OPS, 15 home runs, 72 RBIs, and eight stolen bases. He split his time between left field (87 games) and designated hitter (49), showcasing his versatility on the field.

However, Yoshida’s sophomore campaign has been marred by injuries, significantly limiting his playing time to just 32 games out of Boston’s first 79. Compounding the issue, he has predominantly been utilized as a designated hitter, appearing in the outfield only once this season. Fielding has been a skill he misses dearly, although he has adapted to his role as DH.


“Yeah, I miss playing outfield,” Yoshida lamented. “It’s not like I’ve never hit as a DH. I did that in Japan, too. So I am trying to do everything I can do to stay ready during the game.”

The lack of consistent playing time has affected Yoshida’s performance at the plate this season, with his batting average dipping to .239 and his OPS to .635. He has managed just two home runs and 12 RBIs, a far cry from his impressive numbers in his debut season.

Reflecting on his current situation, Yoshida remains optimistic. “It is what it is, right? The injury happened and it sucks,” he acknowledged. “But all I’ve got to do right now is go up from here. I do everything I can do each and every day to get my swing back and just go up from here.”

Finding a spot for Yoshida in the lineup has proven challenging for the Red Sox this season, especially given the strong defensive performances of outfielders Jarren Duran, Ceddanne Rafaela, and Wilyer Abreu. Additionally, Rob Refsnyder and Tyler O’Neill have solidified their positions, further limiting Yoshida’s opportunities to play.

As Yoshida continues to work towards full fitness and form, Boston faces the ongoing challenge of balancing his skills and the current dynamics of their outfield and designated hitter rotations.