Kiké Hernandez has bold message for doubters of his shortstop ability

Kiké Hernandez has bold message for doubters of shortstop ability originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The middle of the Boston Red Sox' infield is an area of concern heading into the 2023 MLB season. Xander Bogaerts' departure and Trevor Story's elbow surgery have formed giant question marks at the second base and shortstop positions.

Super utilityman Kiké Hernandez hopes to be part of the solution. With newly-acquired Adam Duvall taking over in center field, Hernandez is expected to take over for Bogaerts as Boston's everyday shortstop.

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Hernandez has played 100 games at shortstop in his nine-year career. The most games he's played at the position in a single season is 24 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017.

Asked whether there's a big challenge that comes with the everyday shortstop role, Hernandez gave a confident answer.

"I don't think so," Hernandez told host Chris Rose on The Chris Rose Rotation. "I was worried that center field was going to be way too much ground to cover considering my speed. Of course, I depend a lot on my jump, on my first step. I cover a lot of ground on my first step and I try to be moving before the ball gets hit, kind of like an infielder. Basically the same as playing second but with a longer throw, honestly."

Hernandez also shared a strong message for those who have doubts about him as the Red Sox' everyday shortstop next season.

"We'll talk in October. We'll talk in November. Watch me. That's it," Hernandez said. "If there's something they can expect, it's I won't be scared."

That's a bold statement not because of his confidence in his shortstop ability, but because he insinuates the Red Sox will be competing deep into the postseason. It's a rare display of optimism amid what's been a mostly gloomy winter in Boston.

That should come as no surprise to those who have followed Hernandez on social media this offseason. The 31-year-old veteran hasn't shied away from sharing his positive outlook.

With Hernandez at shortstop, Christian Arroyo projects to be the Red Sox' Opening Day second baseman. The expectation is Arroyo will split time at second with oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi, who recently was acquired via trade from the Kansas City Royals.