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Dynamic Jarren Duran suddenly looking not like trade bait, but a keeper

Dynamic Jarren Duran suddenly looking not like trade bait, but a keeper

Tomase: Dynamic Jarren Duran suddenly looks like a keeper originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

In a game where top prospects have opportunities handed to them on reputation more than performance, it’s refreshing to see Jarren Duran shut up and force his way into the Red Sox lineup.

Duran had every reason to gripe when the Red Sox sent him to Triple-A Worcester this spring. He had just hit .333 in Fort Myers while displaying game-changing speed, even scoring from second on a sacrifice fly. A consensus top-35 prospect a year earlier, Duran found himself in limbo, a 25-year-old whose path to regular playing time was blocked by veteran outfielders Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Duran didn’t mope at Triple-A. He told anyone who’d listen that he understood the decision and just wanted to be ready if the Red Sox needed him. He hit .305 with a .910 OPS in 43 games and made a couple of cameos in Boston, sticking around just long enough to lead the team in triples before booking a return ticket to Central Mass.

If he wanted to complain, he certainly could’ve done so earlier this month when Hernández went on the injured list and the Red Sox summoned infielder Jonathan Arauz to replace him. Arauz lasted barely a day before being designated for assignment and joining the Orioles. Duran couldn’t earn a roster spot over that guy?

At this point, Duran could’ve fairly wondered if he’d end up being bait come the Aug. 2 trade deadline. With his 26th birthday looming in September, the time to establish himself as more than a 4-A player was now.

Real opportunity finally came 10 days ago, and Duran has quite literally run with it.

In Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Guardians, Duran went 4 for 5 with a double and a key RBI. He also made a running catch in center to end it, leaving the field with a giant smile on his face and even more confidence that he belongs here.

“He’s been really good — the dynamic player we envisioned,” manager Alex Cora told reporters in…

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