Lillibridge getting settled in his No. 23 Red Sox jersey

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Lillibridge getting settled in his No. 23 Red Sox jersey

BOSTON Brent Lillibridge, who arrived in Boston early this afternoon, was in the Red Sox clubhouse before the start of the series against the Blue Jays, wearing uniform No. 23, occupying Kevin Youkilis former locker.

Im excited, said Lillibridge. Kind of have to just turn the page pretty quick in this game. Excited to be part of this team, obviously, an historic franchise. Its going to be a lot of fun.

Lillibridge was part of the trade that brought him and right-hander Zach Stewart from the White Sox in exchange for Kevin Youkilis.

Like Youkilis, Lillibridge learned of the trade during his game.

Going into the day obviously we knew there was a good chance the White Sox were going to acquire Youk, he said. We didnt really know how it was going to be coming togetheR . . . And I didnt expect to be part of that.

You never know when its going to happen or expect it at all but White Sox manager Robin Ventura pulled me aside on the bench and I was going to hit in the 10th . . . He said, 'I got to sit you. I thought I did something wrong or something. But in the end, it was just, Youre going to be part of a trade. I dont know everything about it, but just go in upstairs, relax, and GM Kenny Williams will talk to you about it and give you the heads up. So it was a shock right way. But its amazing what one day does. Im here wearing red instead of black and ready to go, meeting new guys and seeing some familiar faces, ready to get after it.

Lillibridge grew up in the Seattle area but his paternal grandfather lived in Rhode Island, passing his love of the Red Sox on to Lillibridges father. So, his dad is excited about his new team, he said.

Lillibridge was a fourth-round pick of the Pirates in 2005. He made his big league debut with the Braves in 2008 and has played for the White Sox for parts of the last four seasons.

He was acquired as a utility player. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his five-year big league career.

I think Ive been in the big leagues as long as I have is just being able to play, outfield, infield, all that stuff, he said of his versatility. So I feel like it can help get me in the lineup here too. SoI dont really have any expectations other than just being a part of this team and helping us try to win and moving on past the White Sox.

By 4:30, manager Bobby Valentine had still not had a chance to meet his latest acquisition.

Id like to meet him. thats my first plan, Valentine said. I keep dodging him. And get to know him. I watched some film early this afternoon. Ive seen his statistics. He looks like he can be a real contributing factor on a winning team.

Asked to describe his style of play, Lillibridge replied:

Id say high energy. The big thing is just trying to do something right every single game to help the team out. So thats all Im worried about and playing the game hard, which I think all of us really do. Its kind of clich sometimes. But just playing when I get in there to work really hard and prepare myself to be ready to play every day and go from there. Always excited. I love playingthis game and I want to play for a long time. Hopefully its a long time with the Boston Red Sox.

A scout who is familiar with Lillibridge offered this assessment:

He can help them in a number of ways; infield, outfield, all three outfield positions. Second base will be his best infield position. He cant go to shortstop too often. Hell probably be in the outfield more often. Hes a solid baserunner. He does a lot of things to help but he cant play too much or hell get overexposed. Hell be great in the clubhouse. Hes a professional guy. He knows what a utility guy is all about.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.