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Christian Arroyo, the Red Sox's second-base coach, has been a pleasure to work with

Christian Arroyo, the Red Sox's second-base coach, has been a pleasure to work with

Christian Arroyo played in only seven of the final 68 regular-season games for the Red Sox. His contributions, if they may be called that, were one hit, one run scored, two walks, and 25 innings at second base.

A strained left hamstring and a positive COVID-19 test kept Arroyo out of uniform for much of the summer.

All I could do was watch, and that was on TV a lot of times, he said.

But Arroyo has played every inning of all five of the postseason, going 5 for 19 with a double and playing flawless defense at second. His ninth-inning sacrifice bunt in Game 4 of the Division Series on Monday paved the way for the Sox to advance into the ALCS.

Arroyo is being counted on as the Sox prepare for Game 1 against Houston on Friday night. Weve all seen that before in the postseason.

Steve Pearce was a part-time player in 2018 who was named Most Valuable Player of the World Series. David Ross stepped off the bench to catch the final three games of the World Series in 2013, and the Sox pitchers allowed four runs. He had only played 33 games that season due to a concussion.

Due to an MLB rule that needs explanation every season, Arroyo will now have a similar chance. Only players who are members of an organization as of Sept. 1 are eligible for the playoffs. Even for injuries, there are no exceptions of any kind.

Jos Iglesias is now a postseason spectator, despite hitting.356 with '915 OPS' over 23 games in September. He was acquired on Sept. 6, a day when the Sox were desperately searching for players during wracked by obstructive ventilation (COVID). That he wouldnt be eligible for the postseason was irrelevant.

Xander Bogaerts has gone from a nervous playoff rookie to the sacrosanct connective tissue of Red Sox championship eras.

Even after Arroyo's fall from the injured list on Sept. 20, manager Alex Cora kept Iglesias in the lineup throughout the stretch, even when his team was fighting for a playoff spot.

After a workout at Fenway Park, Arroyo said Wednesday that he understood it to the fullest. I wanted us to win so I could get a chance to play in October, and Iggy was the guy who got us there. We had a wonderful time and he was wonderful to work with.

Hes a huge part of why were here. Getting me ready wasnt a priority. It couldnt be more.

Arroyo went on a preparation diet in the final weeks of the season, taking daily batting practice off 'high-speed pitching machines'.

From 45 feet away, its the equivalent of a 100-mile-an-hour fastball, Arroyo said. I wanted to get my hands ready to face big-league pitching again, he added.

He worked on the field before games and then sat on a bench to watch Iglesias. After the Sox claimed a playoff spot on the final day of the season, Arroyo moved roles with him. He went into the lineup, and all Iglesias could do was watch.

All I want to do is play a good defense and have good at-bats. We have eight other guys on our team who can hit. Im not worried about that, Arroyo said.

Iglesias has remained with the Sox and has assisted Arroyo by providing advice in various situations, including his footwork on bunts. What was a tricky issue for Cora has so far gone smoothly.

Red Sox are concerned about the team's regular-season rivalries with Houston and are considering shelving their concerns.

[Arroyo] was a pretty solid defensive second baseman in the small sample size, Cora said. I think theres a lot there offensively, though. You can see it little by little. The at-bats are getting better.

Jos was in a difficult situation towards the end, according to Jose. But, based on Jos's performance in September, we had to play him. [Arroyo] understood that. Hes a great teammate, hell be able to play with ease. Im happy hes able to post and try to make a difference.

Arroyo has gotten used to adapting on the go. The Sox are his fourth team in five years. Arroyo, who is now 26 years old, has already been traded twice, and last August was claimed off waivers by the Sox. Hes also been injured six times in his career.

This opportunity, being four games away from the World Series, is what you want, he added. As a child, you want to play travel baseball, then high school baseball and you wish to be recruited.

Then you want to make it to the big leagues and the final thing is the postseason. Here we are.

Peter Abraham is available at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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