Red Sox' Jarren Duran candidly reflects on 2022 struggles, fan criticism

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Jarren Duran candidly addresses 2022 struggles, criticism from fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's been a long summer for Jarren Duran.

The talented Red Sox prospect took over as Boston's starting center fielder in late June but struggled mightily as both a hitter and a fielder. He hit just .220 with 63 strikeouts in 57 games and made several glaring blunders in the field -- the worst a Raimel Tapia fly ball he lost in the lights on July 22 to allow an inside-the-park grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays -- before being sent back down to Triple-A this past weekend.

While Duran has taken plenty of heat from Red Sox fans amid the team's tumble out of contention, apparently no one has been harder on the 25-year-old than himself.

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"I can’t talk about too much of it, but I’ve been pretty low this year," Duran told MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo last week. "It has been a struggle to stay here (in the majors).

“I try so hard to please everybody so when I hear people badmouthing me and they’re our home fans, I take it to heart. It’s like, ‘Dang, I need to try harder because I’m just trying to make everybody happy.’ It’s so hard. It’s a (game of failure), a (sport of failure). I just ask for forgiveness whenever I don’t do what they ask me to do. I’m trying my best. I just hope they know that."

Duran added that he's kept most of his mental struggles to himself this year, declining to talk to family members and even teammates about his rough season.

"I’m kind of just tearing myself up internally and get pretty depressed and stuff like that. I find it hard to reach out to people because I don’t want to bother other people with my problems. I kind of just build it up inside myself, which obviously makes everything a lot worse."

It's admirable of Duran to open up about how his play on the field has impacted him off the field. Red Sox fans have taken many of their frustrations with the 2022 season out on Duran, and it's clearly weighing on him.

The Red Sox also didn't exactly set Duran up for success this season, either. Even as he looked overmatched at the big-league level, Boston kept him as its starting center fielder, releasing Jackie Bradley Jr. and failing to acquire outfield depth at the MLB trade deadline outside 34-year-old Tommy Pham.

Duran would benefit from more time in the minors to improve his game this season and the Red Sox investing in more outfield talent in 2023 to put less of a burden on him. In the meantime, he's doing his best to get used to the criticism.

"(Fans are) just calling it as it is," Duran said. "I'm obviously not doing very good. A lot of fans would want me out of here but (the media) just asks the questions they need to ask. I think they have been fair to me."