Future looks bright for Sox prospect Bradley, Jr.


Future looks bright for Sox prospect Bradley, Jr.

BOSTON For Jackie Bradley, it was a year of opening some eyes and making his mark. In his first full season, the Red Sox fourth pick in the first round (40th overall) in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina, hit .315 with nine home runs, 63 RBI, a .430 on-base percentage, and a .482 slugging percentage in 128 combined games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

But it was also a season of listening and learning for him.

Just listening to my body, Bradley said Friday morning. Listening to what its telling me and being able to make adjustments daily, whether its during the game or the preparation before the game. I actually developed a routine this year maybe halfway when I was in Portland. I didnt really have a routine. So just developing that and sticking with that is what I learned the most.

Bradley -- who was at Harvard Friday morning, one of 11 Red Sox prospects in the organizations week-long rookie development program did slow down at the end of the season. In his last 10 games, he went 7-for-27, batting .259, with just two extra-base hits.

His focus this season?

Being healthy, he said. Staying healthy once again. Sticking with a routine. Still developing, progressing the way things are supposed. Just trying to make sure winnings a top priority.

But, its the maturity he displayed throughout the past season and paying attention when learning experiences presented themselves that the Red Sox noticed.

Thats a huge thing for him to come in really in his first full season, dominating High A the way he did, pushed his way to Double A, said Ben Crockett, the Sox farm director. But the way he handled it and he gets a lot of attention, as he should, and had previously based on his success in college. I think the way he was able to handle that and go out and take care of his business every day, the passion that he continued to show. You watch him shag in centerfield during batting practice and all the guys joke with him about his power shagging because he takes it really seriously. Hes working on something at all times. The way that he was able to maintain that throughout the year and offseason was pretty impressive.

One of the goals of the mini camp is to help young players prepare for big league life, both on and off the field, and get ready for the rigors of playing in Boston.

I think it isnt necessarily one personality type that can do it, Crockett said. But certainly Jackies comfort and confidence with himself to be who he is. Hes been accountable and I think maybe most importantly hes shown to us in a short period of time despite the performance when he doesnt perform well and the team wins, hes happy. I think that focus on team helps all these guys.

I think thats something that definitely Jackie embodies and a lot of these guys do and thats part of the reason they're here.

As a minor leaguer, though, sometimes that focus on team can be confounding. A young player wants to shine and get noticed, with the hope of earning a promotion.

Yeah, obviously, you arent going to move up if somebody else is doing really good, said Bradley, who turns 23 in April. But you still got to stay within, because it is a team sport. You cant really do it by yourself. Everything has to work together in order to win. And thats pretty much what we want to do. Winning trumps everything. Once everyone gets a better understanding of that, well be able to win.

Bradley appeared in 114 combined games in center field, and one in right, serving as the designated hitter in 12. He posted a combined .973 fielding percentage in center, committing seven errors in 260 chances, with three assists.

With Jacoby Ellsburys impending free agency after this season, Bradley has been tabbed by many observers as the Sox center fielder of the future. While neither he nor the organization has been willing to run with that, he will take an opportunity that is presented.

I see opportunity anyway, he said. Just being able to take advantage of every single opportunity that you get, whatever that may be, Ill make sure Im ready for it.

Bryce Brentz, who earned a late-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket last season, and Alex Hassan are also in camp. They represent what could be the Sox outfield of the future.

Yeah, you hope so, Crockett said. I think theres guys that certainly have that potential. There's guys that the three guys here have all the talent to impact. But I think certainly all three have some development still to do and itll be up to them to kind of drive that and up to us to help them get there.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”