BALTIMORE -- Rookie center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who had started each of the team’s last 17 games, was benched Monday, and it was unclear whether it will be more than a one-game absence from the lineup.
Bradley came into the game batting .203 overall, and is coming off a series in Detroit in which he had two hits but struck out in his other eight at-bats, including three times Sunday. He also had two strikeouts in the team’s last game in Cleveland, making it 10 whiffs in 14 at-bats.
John Farrell elected to start Grady Sizemore in center field for the 11th time this season, but for only the third time since May 3. Brock Holt, who had four hits Sunday and took a hit away from Detroit’s Ian Kinsler while making his professional debut in left field, was back in left Monday, with Daniel Nava, who is 5-for-13 on this trip, including a three-hit game Saturday, in right.
“I wanted to keep Grady in the mix and I think Jackie needs a little bit of a breather,’’ Farrell said. “You get in this ballpark where there’s not as much ground to cover, we feel like we were able to do that with Holt, Sizemore and Nava adequately.
“And Jackie has had some challenges of late. He’s been working on some things in early BP, a little different placement where his hands are. The strikeouts are probably more than he’s ever experienced and more than we projected. This is a chance to take a little bit of a breather.’’
Bradley has struck out a team-high 65 times in just 187 at-bats, averaging 1 K per 2.8 at-bats. He has taken a called third strike a team-high 22 times, four more than Jonny Gomes (18), and his 43 strikeouts swinging rank second to Xander Bogaerts’ 50, in 38 fewer at-bats than his fellow rookie.
Bradley struck out 75 times in 320 at-bats for Pawtucket last season. He whiffed 31 times in 95 at-bats in his first taste of big-league experience last season, a similar whiff rate to what he is experiencing this season.
Farrell said it was "undetermined" whether Bradley would remain out of the lineup for more than a game.