Bogaerts excited, ready to help Sox down stretch

Bogaerts excited, ready to help Sox down stretch
August 19, 2013, 9:15 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO -- If Xander Bogaerts was overwhelmed by the crowd of reporters that surrounded him in the dugout, or the amount of attention paid to his promotion to the big leagues, he did a very good job disguising it.
     
Bogaerts seemed more bemused than anything, flashing a big smile and calmly answering questions for almost 15 minutes, hours after joining the Red Sox at AT&T Park.
     
"Since I signed," said Bogaerts, "this is what you work hard to become -- a major league player. So I'm really excited. It's a happy day for me and for my family back home (in Aruba)."
     
Bogaerts was told about 8 p.m. Sunday night that he would be called up to the big leagues. He drove to Boston Sunday and joined the Sox on their cross-country charter trip Monday morning.
     
The news came as a surprise to him.
     
"To be honest, definitely not (something I expected)," said Bogaerts. "I was at the hotel, playing dominoes with some of my teammates, just having a good time. I was surprised with the phone call."
     
Bogaerts was not in the lineup Monday night, but manager John Farrell he would likely play Tuesday night in the second game of series. A source indicated Bogaerts would play shortstop.
     
"Whatever the Red Sox organization and the manager wants me to do," said Bogaerts, "I'll be available. I'm just here to play and win games."
     
"He'll rotate through the left side of the infield," said John Farrell. "As Ben (Cherington) and I and others talked about our position players going down the stretch here and trying to find the best way to schedule some down days, Xander will provide that at shortstop with Stephen (Drew). The reason we brought up Xander was a righthanded bat to complement him; that's not to say (it will be) a platoon situation by any means.
     
"But we felt it was Xander's time to come here and start his big league career."
     
Farrell added that Bogaerts will see playing time at short and third, "but I can't say it's going to be 50-50."
     
The move comes at a time when Drew and third baseman Will Middlebrooks have produced of late. Drew was hitless in his last two games, but is batting .313 with 16 RBI in his last 22 games. Middlebrooks, meanwhile, is hitting .462 (12-for-26) since being promoted 10 days ago.
     
Farrell said he didn't want to predict how often Bogaerts would play, but vowed "initially, we'll look to find the best matchups, and find a day when Stephen might need off his feet."
     
The 2013 season has been a whirlwind for Bogaerts. He got an invitation to major league spring training, took part in the World Baseball Classic, started the year at Double A Portland, earned a move up to Pawtucket, and now this.
     
Between Portland and Pawtucket, Bogaerts hit .297 with 23 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 67 RBI, 63 walks, 72 runs scored, and seven stolen bases in 116 minor league games.
     
In 60 games for Pawtucket, he has a .284 average with 11 doubles, nine homers, and 32 RBI while appearing in 49 games at shortstop and 10 games at third base.
     
"He's had a very good year offensively," said Farrell. "He's still got some development to do on the defensive side that he's working through as well as on the basepaths. But we're talking about a young exciting offensive player, really, a very good player all around that, at 20 years of age, is still developing. But his abilities will give us a shot in the arm and make an impact here."
     
Bogaerts joked that when he gets his first major league at-bat, he would "try to get a walk, be as patient as possible and not be too over-aggressive."
     
He's been ranked as the team's best prospect since Nomar Garciaparra and has touted as one of the game's future superstars. But he's tried to shut out that talk and ignore the hype.
     
"If you start thinking about those things," said Bogaerts, "that's when the pressure hits you and if you start feeling it, that's when you probably go insane. I try not to thinnk about that stuff and just try to concentrate on baseball. That's really what I'm about."