Rafael Devers fills in for injured Xander Bogaerts during Red Sox’s opening week

The Boston Red Sox started the 2023 season without their star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Bogaerts is expected to return soon, but his absence left a big hole in the lineup and the infield.

One of the players who had to step up in his place was third baseman Rafael Devers, who moved to the shortstop position for the first time in his major league career. Devers had a challenging week, both offensively and defensively, as he tried to fill in for his friend and teammate.

Devers spoke to reporters after the Red Sox’s 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, which capped off a 4-3 opening week for the team. He shared his thoughts on playing shortstop, how he missed Bogaerts, and how he handled the pressure of being in a new role.

“I was nervous at first, I’m not going to lie,” Devers said. “It’s a different position, a different responsibility. You have to be more alert, more focused. You have to make more plays. It was hard, but I tried to do my best.”

Devers admitted that he made some mistakes in the field, such as committing two errors in one game against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He said he learned from them and tried to improve every day.

“I know I’m not perfect, I know I’m going to make errors,” Devers said. “But I also know I can make good plays. I just have to keep working hard and trust myself.”

Devers also struggled at the plate, hitting only .200 with one home run and four RBIs in the first seven games. He said he felt some pressure to produce more without Bogaerts in the lineup, but he tried to stay calm and confident.

“I know I can hit, I know I can help the team,” Devers said. “But sometimes you go through slumps, sometimes you face tough pitchers. You have to be patient and not get frustrated. You have to keep swinging and hope for the best.”

Devers said he missed having Bogaerts by his side, both on and off the field. He said they have a close bond and a great chemistry, and that they always support each other.

“He’s like a brother to me,” Devers said. “He’s always there for me, he always gives me advice, he always makes me laugh. He’s a great player and a great person. I can’t wait for him to come back.”

Devers said he was proud of how the team performed without Bogaerts, winning four of seven games against division rivals. He said he was happy to contribute in any way he could, but he was also looking forward to returning to his natural position at third base.

“I think we did a good job as a team,” Devers said. “We showed that we can compete with anyone, even without one of our best players. But of course we need him back. He’s a big part of this team. He makes us better.”

Devers said he was excited to see Bogaerts back in action soon, and that he hoped they could continue their success together.

“I think we’re going to have a great season,” Devers said. “We have a lot of talent, a lot of passion, a lot of fun. We’re going to play hard every day and try to win every game. We’re going to do it for ourselves, for our fans, and for Xander.”

Final Thoughts: Rafael Devers on Filling in for Xander Bogaerts

The absence of a star player can be a daunting challenge for any team, but it can also be an opportunity for other players to step up and show their skills. Rafael Devers, the Boston Red Sox third baseman, faced this challenge when he was asked to fill in for his injured teammate Xander Bogaerts at shortstop.

In his first week playing in this new role, Devers faced both successes and challenges, both on the field and at the plate. However, what stood out the most was his willingness to accept the challenge and do his best, despite feeling nervous and under pressure.

Devers showed admirable honesty and humility when he admitted to making mistakes on the field and struggling at the plate. He also demonstrated a strong work ethic and determination when he spoke about learning from his errors and staying patient and confident during slumps.

It was also heartening to see his close bond with Bogaerts and his appreciation for his teammate’s support and friendship. Devers’ positive attitude and team spirit were evident when he praised the team’s efforts in winning four out of seven games without Bogaerts, but also acknowledged the importance of having him back in the lineup.

Overall, Devers’ performance during the opening week of the season shows his versatility as a player and his willingness to adapt to new challenges. It also shows his maturity and leadership as a member of the team, who is willing to take on extra responsibility when needed.

With Bogaerts soon to return to the field, it will be exciting to see the chemistry between the two players and how they contribute to the Red Sox’s success.