KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox released outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on Thursday as the club plans its course for what Boston hopes will be a robust final two months of the regular season.
“It was the roster configuration,” manager Alex Cora said.
With Trade Deadline acquisitions and players coming back from injury, Bradley became expendable. He was hitting .210 with a .578 OPS in 271 at-bats this season. Bradley was acquired from Milwaukee last December in a deal that sent outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers.
Although he is still a plus defender, Bradley’s bat has been lagging for the past couple of years.
“We were hoping, offensively, it was going to be a lot better than last year,” Cora said. “He had some stretches at home that were good. Obviously, he struggled toward the end. We weren’t able to get him to be consistent hitting the ball the other way. This year, there weren’t too many strikeouts. But toward the end, there were a lot of ground balls to the pull side. Offensively, it just didn’t work out.”
Jarren Duran started in center on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Royals.
“The last two weeks, [Duran] has really been good with his jumps,” Cora said. “He made some adjustments pre-pitch and with the first step. He’ll play a lot.”
The Red Sox acquired outfielder Tommy Pham just before the Trade Deadline to fortify their outfield. They also anticipate welcoming back outfielder Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) sometime this month.
“We feel comfortable with the roster we have right now,” Cora said. “And we’ll be more comfortable in a few weeks.”