Jim Thome, Rick Renteria won’t be downplaying the DH
On Harold Baines Day, Thome said the position is a big part of the game, and Renteria said being a designated hitter takes skill and focus that some players don’t have.
The 2019 Hall of Fame class included two players who spent the majority of their careers as designated hitters: Harold Baines and Seattle’s Edgar Martinez.
“It is a big part (of the game),” said Jim Thome, who ended his career as a DH. “All aspects of the game in my opinion should be recognized and a guy shouldn’t be punished because they have a position that is valuable in the game. It adds to the lineup. Think about it.”
Baines played 1,643 games as a DH and had 1,690 hits. One reason he succeeded in the position was his calm demeanor, which is especially important for a DH who won’t be able to help in the field.
“It takes a special guy, a special player, to be able to understand the routine of what it takes to what makes you successful,” Thome said.
Some people have scoffed at the importance and challenge of the position, but Rick Renteria is not one of them.
“There are a lot of guys that, when you talk about DH’ing and you go ‘Well, it’s not as important.’ Well, there are a lot of guys that can’t do it,” Renteria said. “These guys were able to do it, and (have) that focus that it requires in order to be able to be effective hitters.”
Kelvin Herrera (right oblique strain) returned from the injured list Sunday, and the Sox hope he can use the last part of the season as a springboard for 2020.
“It’s important because we want him to continue to move in a position where his efforts and outcomes are more positive and building toward continuing to become who he was in the past,” Renteria said.
Expected to be a key late-inning arm, Herrera hasn’t given the Sox what they were expecting. Herrera entered Sunday’s game 3-3 with a 7.36 ERA and has battled injury all season.
“Obviously, he’s wanted to do better than he has,” Renteria said. “I think, healthwise, he’s feeling more and more comfortable with everything he’s had to go through.”
Herrera threw a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.
Leury Garcia (under the weather) was scratched from the starting lineup. Jon Jay moved to leadoff, and Adam Engel took Garcia’s spot in center field.