BOSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes got a hanging slider from Shane Greene on Saturday, a great chance to make an initial statement to Red Sox fans about the damage he can do. There were runners on base, and Boston was trying to mount a comeback.
But Cespedes leaned into the pitch and seemed to jam himself, lofting a high fly to fairly deep center field. As he started to move toward first base, he grimaced. So close ...
There will be better days ahead for Cespedes and the Red Sox lineup, which looks dramatically different in its power potential now that Cespedes is hitting behind David Ortiz and in front of Mike Napoli. Cespedes might be inconsistent and might not draw a lot of walks, but opposing pitchers and managers will be leery of his ability to dent the Green Monster. Boston had to upgrade its lineup, and GM Ben Cherington accomplished this by acquiring Cespedes.
Moving forward, the challenge for the Red Sox is to rebuild a rotation that has undergone massive turnover since late last season. Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront have been traded, and Ryan Dempster has retired. Only Clay Buchholz remains, accompanied by the hope and promise -- and inexperience -- of unproven prospects.