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Michael Chavis Shows Adaptability In Return

A giant question mark hovered over third baseman Michael Chavis in his return from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Would he look like the breakout prospect who slammed 31 homers in 2017?

Or would he struggle in his return, in a fashion that might demolish the view of him as a prospect?

Though Chavis struggled initially after missing the first three months of the season, he regained his rhythm and amassed stronger numbers at Double-A Portland than he did there at the conclusion of 2017. The 23-year-old hit  .303/.388/.508 with six home runs in 33 games before finishing at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Rather than selling out for power as he did at times down the stretch while chasing 30 homers in 2017, Chavis exhibited a sound approach, hitting the ball hard from left field to right-center, in a way that solidified impressions of him as a player with a solid hit tool and the potential for plus power.

Moreover, even as Chavis split time between third and first, evaluators saw a more fluid defender at the hot corner than he had been in past years. That convinced some that he can either stay at the position or be an option there if he moves to first base or even left field.

A year that initially represented a low point concluded as a season of progress for Chavis, a 2014 first-round pick out of high school in Georgia.

"He continues to evolve as a hitter, to be more complete, to understand what he’s doing up there, to have a better understanding of the strike zone and what he can attack,” farm director Ben Crockett said. "He continues to improve.”

With his addition to the 40-man roster in November a foregone conclusion, Chavis is poised to enter 2019 back with the PawSox, but in the conversation for Boston if it needs a righthanded corner depth option.

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>> A pair of promising young power hitters, Triston Casas and Danny Diaz, who made their 2018 pro debuts at third base, are spending time at both first and third base at instructional league.

>> Both lefthander Darwinzon Hernandez and righthander Mike Shawaryn will work out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League, but the Red Sox plan to have both continue working in the rotation to open the 2019 season.

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