Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story, right, said he hopes shortstop Xander Bogaerts remains in Boston, even if it means Story would not move back to his natural position. Ashley Landis/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Trevor Story is the most obvious candidate to play shortstop, his natural position, for the 2023 Red Sox if Xander Bogaerts leaves in free agency. He loves the position and plays it exceptionally well. He posted 69 defensive runs saved in 6,304 2/3 innings at shortstop for the Rockies from 2016-21.

But Story would rather have Bogaerts as his teammate than return to shortstop. He wants the Red Sox and Bogaerts to reach a longterm contract.

“I would love that,” Story told on Sunday. “That’s part of why I came here. I want to play with really good players. He certainly fits that mold. He’s been here for a long time and has had success in this market, won some World Series. He’s done so much on and off the field. This is only my first year with him but he’s a huge part of this team. And of course, I want to play with him for a long, long time.”

Story said winning is more important to him than what position he plays.

“That’s kind of how I thought about it in the offseason just having some really real conversations with myself and my family,” Story said. “And we were just like, ‘Is this about playing shortstop or is it about winning?’ Obviously the choice kind of speaks for itself. Bogey is a really good shortstop. And I think having him here is going to be huge for us. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”

Story said he always tried to watch Bogaerts from afar when he played in Colorado.


“I’ve always kind of kept up with him over my first six years. Just a lot of respect for him and his game overall,” Story said. “But being able to see it on the first-hand basis playing with him up the middle, it’s been special. He’s so solid over there defensively. I feel like we put in a lot of work. We pride ourselves on trying to pick up our pitchers. He’s obviously done that over his career for a long time. But seeing it on a first-hand basis, defense is really good and I think the offense kind of speaks for itself. He’s one of those dynamic players on both sides of the ball.”

The free-agent shortstop market will be deep this coming offseason. Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson are pending free agents. Bogaerts and Carlos Correa can opt out and become free agents.

Bogaerts is arguably the best shortstop of this group. He is second in fWAR (6.1) among all MLB shortstops behind only Francisco Lindor (6.7).

He has a better WAR than Swanson (5.8), Turner (5.7) and Correa (4.2).

He also has made vast improvements defensively this season. He has a positive DRS (1) for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, Story has played Gold Glove-caliber defense at second base with five defensive runs saved.


“It’s fun, man,” Story said about playing second base. “I’m still very involved, still very much a big part of the infield defense. Being in the middle of the diamond, you know you’re going to be busy. It was a little bit of a transition just with the angles and turning double plays and doing some different things. Angle-wise has been the biggest adjustment. Really, the time over there has served me so well and work before the games and being in the shift. Like I said all along, not overthinking it, just trying to take that shortstop mentality over there.”

Story, who recently called his first year in Boston “eventful,” has been limited to 94 games because of two IL stints (right hand contusion, left heel contusion).

It has been a frustrating season because the 29-year-old second baseman prides himself on playing. He played 142 or more games each season from 2017-19 and then again in ‘21. He played 59 out of 60 games in the shortened 2020 pandemic season. And so he was mostly able to stay on the field before this season.

“They are outlier kind of injuries, kind of off the wall injuries,” Story said. “That doesn’t make them less frustrating. Missing the time is something that I’m not used to. I love playing and playing every day. And I know how precious that is. I’ve made a living off doing that. That’s been my calling card — playing every day and getting in the groove. Things even out over a long season and I actually believe that. It just kind of wasn’t the case this year.”

THE RED SOX are clearly out of playoff contention, but Nathan Eovaldi doesn’t seem to care.

Eovaldi is still planning on returning from a shoulder injury before the end of the season, Manager Alex Cora told reporters in New York on Sunday.


“Nate feels good today, there’s a good chance he’ll be with us towards the end of the week,” Cora said. “We’ll see how we’ll do it. Probably piggyback him with Rich (Hill).”

Hill is scheduled to start Wednesday, while Eovaldi last pitched for Triple-A Worcester in a rehab start on Friday.

He gave up three earned runs in three innings against the Syracuse Mets on Friday. Mets first baseman Dominic Smith homered off him.

It was a messy start and his velocity remains down. He maxed out at 96 mph, according to the Woo Sox. When healthy, Eovaldi often touches 100 mph.

It’s the same story as when he returned from an injury mid-summer. He was rushed back to start against the Yankees just before the All-Star break, but hasn’t looked right since.

But Eovaldi is soon to be a free agent and has obvious incentive to get back on the mound and prove to be a worthy candidate for a big contract this offseason.


The 32-year-old has struggled to stay healthy for much of his career, although he did make 32 starts last year, just the second time in his career he crossed the 30-start threshold.

If he returns Wednesday, he could make two appearances before the season ends.

“He feels like everything went well Friday and he feels good,” Cora said.

EOVALDI ISN’T the only injured Red Sox player trying to make a final appearance before the offseason begins.

Injured first baseman Eric Hosmer is also hoping to play before the season ends and Cora told reporters there’s a good chance he appears in a game by the end of the week.

Hosmer has been out since Aug. 20 with a back injury. He has incentive to get back too; while he’s not a free agent, he’s a candidate to be designated for assignment if the Red Sox need to clear room on their 40-man roster this winter.

The 32-year-old Hosmer is being paid the entirety of his salary over the next three years by the Padres, but with a .715 OPS this year, it remains to be seen if there’s a big league team that will have a roster spot for him.

The Red Sox have clearly turned their attention to Triston Casas, the 22-year-old top prospect who has shown an advanced plate approach since his call-up in early September.

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