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Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo benched for lack of hustle

Thu Jun 8 9:41pm ET
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Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was benched for Thursday night's game against Cleveland after not hustling during a play in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Guardians.

Manager Alex Cora said Verdugo will return to the lineup Friday against the New York Yankees.

The play that drew Cora's ire happened with two outs in the seventh inning and Verdugo on first base.

Masataka Yoshida hit a slow bouncer to the right side of the infield and Verdugo eased up while running to second, looked back and didn't slide. The throw to second by Cleveland first baseman Josh Naylor beat Verdugo to end the inning.

Cora immediately removed Verdugo from the game.

"There was a play in the seventh inning that I didn't like," Cora told reporters before Thursday's game. "I don't know if people noticed it. ... We just felt like in that play, his reaction wasn't a great one. Obviously not busting his behind to second. I don't know if he's out or safe but I didn't like it.

"One of the things with Dugie as a player this year, there's not too many things we can question. Defensively, he's one of the best in the big leagues. Offensively, he's been solid. Even baserunning, which is one of the things he needed to get better (at), he's doing a good job. But obviously where we're at, I'm not using him as an example because we have to be better in a lot of aspects.

"But yesterday, I felt like ... that's not acceptable and he knows it. So I took him out of the game and then today he is not starting."

Verdugo, 27, is batting .286 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 59 games. He is in his fourth season with the Red Sox after spending parts of the previous three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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