Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The defending World Series champs will look a little different at the start of next season, right from the leadoff spot.
Red Sox skipper Alex Cora said he plans to swap Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi at the top of his order because he wants the reigning AL MVP Betts to be a bit more aggressive.
"You guys saw what happened toward the end of the season," Cora said. "He became very passive again. It's not that I don't like that--I know what type of hitter he is. But I think doing that, Benny can be aggressive, too. He's a good runner, he gets on base. I put it this way to Mookie--if you play 160 games, you're gonna come up 160 at bats with nobody on. Last year what I wanted from him in the leadoff spot, we accomplished, and now it's a different season, and we have to make adjustments."
Betts led the majors in average and slugging percentage for the game's highest-scoring team, but Cora said this move will maximize the damage the outfielder can do.
Betts hit .325 and slugged .714 with runners in scoring position, but only had 80 RBI since the bottom of Boston's lineup struggled to get on base.
Benintendi batted first 21 times last season, with a .322 average, five homers, 15 RBI, and a .979 OPS.
WBZ NewsRadio's Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) reports