World

Kicked to the curb, Kiké and Brasier enjoying renewed success with Dodgers

[ad_1]

Ever since the 2023 MLB schedules came out last summer, this weekend has been circled on the calendar.

Mookie Betts’ return to Fenway Park was always going to be an emotional experience for everyone involved. Yet even if Mookie is the star of the show, this weekend will provide two other former Red Sox players the opportunity for closure as well.

Kiké Hernández and Ryan Brasier are both back in Boston for the first time as visiting players since their tenures with the Red Sox ended abruptly earlier this season. Both were effectively kicked to the curb due to their extended struggles, but since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers they’ve found a new lease on life and have re-emerged as valuable contributors.

Prior to being traded on July 25, Hernández was batting .222 with a .599 OPS, six home runs and 31 RBI in 86 games. He’d also lost his job as the starting shortstop after committing a then-league-high 14 errors and following the trade was expected to primarily come off the bench against lefties for the Dodgers.

But since returning to Los Angeles Hernández has turned things around, batting .296 with an .842 OPS, two home runs and 15 RBI in 25 games.

“They’ve looked for spots to put me in and so far I’m doing a pretty good job,” Hernández said. “I’m having fun playing baseball again.”

It’s been a similar story for Brasier, who was among the last remaining members of the 2018 World Series championship team but who many Red Sox fans had already turned on by last offseason. Brasier was designated for assignment on May 15 after posting a 7.29 ERA in 20 games with the Red Sox, and it wasn’t until two weeks later before he finally signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.

Brasier made his first big league appearance for Los Angeles on June 21 and has been lights out ever since. He’s now posted a 1.03 ERA in 25 games, and dating back to July 5 he’s allowed only one run in his last 19 appearances.

Brasier attributed much of his recent success to a new cutter and an improved slider, which has helped him feel more confident on the mound. He also acknowledged that landing in a place with so many former Red Sox teammates helped him settle in too.

“Obviously it makes it easier,” Brasier said. “Getting to know other people and fitting into the team, and knowing guys like Mookie who is like the main guy.”

Hernández called landing in Los Angeles a best case scenario, noting how earlier in his career he was traded to the Miami Marlins and found himself adrift not knowing anyone in his new organization. This time he got to reunite with his old hitting coaches and settle back into a familiar environment surrounded by people he won a World Series with barely three years ago.

He also admitted that by the time was traded he knew his days in Boston were numbered.

“I figured it was going to happen. I was just hoping that I wasn’t going to get DFA’d,” Hernández said. “I figured at the time they like Yu Chang a lot and I knew that they like Pablo (Reyes) a lot too. Obviously you look at all those situations over there, and with the situation with my contract it probably made the most sense to get rid of me first and then you saw (Christian) Arroyo left too. It’s just the business side of things and I had an idea, and like I said getting traded here was the best case scenario.”

Difficult as the end was, Hernández said he still looks back on his time in Boston fondly. He said he has a lot of special memories between the 2021 postseason run, the three Opening Days and the experience of becoming a father, and he also had lots of praise for the city of Boston itself.

“I truly enjoyed this city a lot, living here was awesome,” Hernández said. “Being from Puerto Rico you don’t get the chance to live in a place where you can literally walk anywhere, and for me that was amazing. I enjoyed my time here a lot, I have nothing but great things to say about this place.”

Brasier echoed that sentiment.

“I loved my time in Boston, still my favorite place to play or be in baseball is Fenway,” Brasier said. “It was special. Coming back and not having job, coming back from Japan and pitching well for a couple of months in the minor leagues and being a part of that ’18 team and a couple of other teams since then, it was really fun.”

Martinez stays home

In addition to Betts, Hernández and Brasier, former Red Sox champion J.D. Martinez is also now playing for the Dodgers. The veteran designated hitter signed in Los Angeles as a free agent this past offseason after a successful five-season run in Boston, but he did not make the trip after being placed on the injured list with groin tightness earlier this week.

Prior to the injury Martinez was enjoying a strong first season with the Dodgers. The 36-year-old is batting .256 with 25 home runs, 78 RBI and an .856 OPS, and he was also named an All-Star for the sixth time in his career.

[ad_2]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button