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After early struggles, David Hamilton regroups and starts to contribute for Red Sox on regular basis

David Hamilton started five games on the recent trip in the middle infield and played in all six.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Through mid-May, David Hamilton’s role with the Red Sox seemed tenuous.

Initially called up to fill in at shortstop when Trevor Story suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, Hamilton’s stint as a regular lasted less than two weeks before his offensive and defensive struggles resulted in a move to the bench in mid-April. Over a 24-game stretch, he made only four starts and played in eight games.

The Sox considered sending Hamilton to Triple A to give him steadier playing time. Hamilton, who was staying at an Airbnb in Boston and had a temporary locker, likewise wondered if he’d be returning to Worcester.


“But,” Hamilton said, “at the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do [about the team’s decision], so I just tried to take it day by day and work on whatever I needed to work on that day.”

The Sox were pleased with what they saw as purposeful offensive and defensive pregame work, and on the recent six-game road trip decided to reintegrate him into the lineup. The 26-year-old played in each game, with five starts, and went 5 for 16 with a .313/.353/.750 line while playing crisp middle infield defense. After he seemed like he was rushing in every aspect of the game early in the season, Hamilton seemed better attuned to the pace of play.

“I hate the term ‘the game speeding up on you,’ but it kind of was,” he said before going 3 for 4 with an RBI in Friday night’s 7-2 loss to the Brewers at Fenway Park.. “I’m not going to say it was a good thing [not to play], but sitting and watching for the time that I did, I think it helped me out just to see Major League Baseball, just watch the game and get more comfortable in the atmosphere.”


Now, it is Hamilton who is helping the team to speed up the game. Against the Brewers, he was back at short and batting eighth, in a lineup grouping with fellow speedsters Ceddanne Rafaela (ninth) and Jarren Duran (leadoff).

“I like this group,” manager Alex Cora said. “It’s a bunch of athletes out there running around and hopefully we can keep putting pressure on the opposition.”

With a more defined role has come a measure of comfort for Hamilton. He moved into an apartment in Boston on Thursday’s offday, and now has a fixed locker. More importantly, he has a place in the lineup.

“It was good [to watch the game], but it’s more fun to be playing,” he said.

Greg Weissert made a scoreless appearance in each of the final two games as the Red Sox swept the Rays this week.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Weissert a go-to guy

While closer Kenley Jansen and setup man Chris Martin typically anchor the eighth and ninth innings for the Sox, Greg Weissert was a go-to option of choice in front of that duo on the road trip.

Though he’s often fallen behind this year (first-pitch strike percentage of 45 percent), the righthander has roared back by attacking the strike zone with a four-pitch mix that has helped him to a 2.21 ERA and 24-to-4 strikeout-to-walk rate in 20⅓ innings entering Friday.

“This guy should be one of our best relievers,” Cora said. “The weapons — four-seamer, two-seamer, changeup, slider — he’s nasty.”

Weissert has inflicted particular misery on righthanded hitters, with 11 strikeouts and no walks in 46 matchups, a performance that has led the Sox to summon him as the matchup of choice for such luminaries as Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña.


“It is exciting when you get those situations,” Weissert said. “I love coming in with guys on. Any type of situation like that is fun.”

Cora praised Weissert’s impact, suggesting that he’s been everything the Sox hoped for when they made him part of the three-player return they received in the offseason (along with Triple A starter Richard Fitts and lower-level pitcher Nicholas Judice) from the Yankees for Alex Verdugo.

“That trade was huge for us,” Cora said. “[Verdugo] was one of our best players last year. But we got three good arms. One is impacting the roster already. The other one is throwing the ball OK in Triple A, and the other one, he’ll help us at one point in the future.”

Changeup called before first pitch

The Brewers changed their pitching plans for the series opener Friday morning, electing to use lefthander Jared Koenig as an opener in front of righthander Bryse Wilson, the originally scheduled starter … Bench coach Ramón Vázquez was away from the Sox while attending his daughter’s high school graduation … One day after he pitched in a rehab game at Double A Portland, oft-injured righthander Bryan Mata, who opened the year on the injured list due to a hamstring issue, felt soreness in his shoulder/lat area and likely will be pulled off his rehab assignment. The 25-year-old will visit with team doctors Saturday … Righthander Isaiah Campbell, who threw a scoreless inning with three strikeouts in a Triple A rehab outing Wednesday, will pitch again Saturday for Worcester. He’s been on the injured list since April 12 due to a shoulder impingement … First baseman Triston Casas (torn rib cartilage) took ground balls for the first time since landing on the injured list. Casas, who hopes to come off the 60-day injured list when first eligible June 21, reported the session went well. He has yet to start swinging the bat … Designated hitter Masataka Yoshida has yet to commence baseball activities in his return from a thumb strain that sent him to the IL … Officials from Lexington honored Brewers outfielder and Lexington High alum Sal Frelick at Fenway in the morning (before one by the village clock), declaring it “Sal Frelick Day” in the player’s hometown. Frelick, who played right field and finished 0 for 5, received a warm round of applause during pregame introductions … New Patriots wide receiver K.J. Osborn threw the ceremonial first pitch.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him @alexspeier.