Here's when Kiké Hernandez could return to Red Sox lineup

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Cora shares when Kiké Hernandez could return from injured list originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kiké Hernandez is nearing his long-awaited return to the Boston Red Sox lineup.

The utility man, who spent 2021 as the team's starting center fielder, has been on the injured list since early June with a right hip flexor strain. He suffered a setback during his rehab assignment that led to him being transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed on Friday the team expects Hernandez will be with them as soon as early next week in Pittsburgh. He will continue his rehab assignment with Double-A Portland Friday and Saturday.

Hernandez presumably will resume his role in center field. If so, it will be a significant defensive upgrade as Jarren Duran has struggled mightily at the position this season.

When he returns, Hernandez will hope to return to 2021 form at the plate. Through 51 games played this year, he's slashing just .209/.273/.340 with four homers.