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Sports of Boston is continuing its week-long preview of the Red Sox outfield with last year’s starting center fielder, Mike Cameron.
Brought in last year to take over centerfield and mentor Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron went down with a bad case of the injury bug in 2010. When all was said and done Cameron played in 48 games and hit .259/.328/.401, down from his career average of .250/.340/.447.
Cameron is 38 and will enjoy another birthday in June, but assuming he has healed, the veteran could be quite useful. As a part-time player filling in for Crawford, Ellsbury and Drew, there should be plenty of at bats available. Cameron also provides a bit of insurance against another slow start by David Ortiz. As we know, Francona believes he is giving his players enough time to get going and two years in a row Big Papi has turned his season around. But that doesn’t mean the Boston manage wouldn’t institute a platoon during the slow times of the season.
For 2011, Cameron’s Bill James projections, courtesy of FanGraphs, show a bit of a recovery with a projected .239/.327/.425 line and 18 home runs. A recovery of Camerons’ power would be nice to have on the bench or should an outfielder suffer an injury. The one caveat here: the projections assume 506 plate appearances.
Hopefully the injury bug visits another team in 2011, but should it bite the Red Sox, Boston is fortunate enough to have someone who could be a full-time player, albeit with age and injury risks of his own.