McAdam: Sox should consider Lin for center field

McAdam: Sox should consider Lin for center field
May 24, 2012, 5:32 am
Share This Post

Che-Hsuan Lin hasn't hit much at the Triple A level, so there's hardly any guarantee that he's going to hit in the big leagues.
But given the shortage of available (and natural) outfielders the Red Sox have, perhaps it's time for offense to take a back seat. While the Red Sox wait for a small army of outfielders to get healthy (they have seven currently on the disabled list), it wouldn't be the worst thing to have Lin become the regular center fielder.
Marlon Byrd has struggled enough with his routes and breaks on balls to show that he's no longer an everyday center fielder. And while Scott Podsednik has enough athleticism to get by, he, too, has his problems, as evidenced Wednesday when he broke the wrong way on a ball that hit the warning track and bounced over for a ground-rule double.
So Lin won't hit? So what? With Ryan Sweeney sidelined until at least Sunday, Lin is the best pure outfielder the Red Sox have. He also has the best arm, and is among the team's best (and speediest) baserunners.
It wouldn't be the worst idea to install him into the lineup every day, hit him ninth and live with what little offense he provides. At a time when the rest of the outfield is either limited or injured, it would be nice for the Sox -- and their pitchers especially -- to know that plays would be made in center. And because of his range, he would automatically help whichever corner outfielders with which he is paired.