Red Sox first pick Marrero honored to be chosen

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Red Sox first pick Marrero honored to be chosen

BOSTON -- The Red Sox selected Arizona State junior Deven Marrero with their first-round pick (24th overall) in the First Year Player Draft, and the shortstop spoke to the media in a conference call on Tuesday, expressing his excitement to be selected by the Red Sox organization.

"This draft was interesting, and fun and exciting," said Marrero. "You had a lot of young players go in different spots. It was a fun draft, and I'm excited to be selected by the Red Sox. It's a great organization, and it's really an honor."

Marrero said the Red Sox have been following him since high school, and he's familiar with the New England area, as he's played in the Cape Cod League the last two years.

"That area up there is unbelievable," he said. "They love their sports, and they have a great reputation for every sport.

"It's a great vibe up there, and they all want to win and they all want championships. And going up there and getting that feel for that down the Cape was awesome. All the people who come to the Cape games and understand that you're part of the future. So, it was pretty cool."

Marrero hopes to make an impact in the organization as quickly as one of his fellow Sun Devils has in Dustin Pedroia.

"He's a unique player, but I'd like to put myself in his category, and hopefully do what he did," said Marrero. "Hopefully everything goes right, and I get a chance to do what he did."

If that's possible, he'll have to get back to what worked for him during his freshman season, win he had a team-leading .397 batting average. That average dipped to .315 his sophomore year, and eventually to .284 his junior year.

He called his junior year "different" because his team entered the season knowing they were banned from the postseason.

"I take away that this game's going to humble you," said Marrero. "This is baseball. Everyone has their year. Everyone has their time.

"I had to play through some injuries, and it was just a learning lesson for me, to keep my head straight and to continue playing and having fun. That's the main part."

He believes his offensive struggles -- if you want to call them that -- are fixable, as long as he continues to hit the ball hard, which he feels he did during his junior season, even though the batting average might not show it.

"My offensive game is, I'm a gap-to-gap guy," said Marrero. "And I felt like this year -- compared to my last two years -- balls just weren't getting through the infield. There were guys standing where my ball was landing. It's just one of those things. All I can control is hitting the ball. And from there on, the ball controls where it lands.

"I was focused. Nothing really different happened with my swing. It was just, I happened to be hitting the ball hard right at people, and that's just the way the game goes."

McAdam: Buchholz is the relief the Red Sox need

McAdam: Buchholz is the relief the Red Sox need

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This is the kind of season it has been for Clay Buchholz:

A little more than a month ago, he was merely taking up space on the Red Sox roster, having been summarily removed from the rotation after three months of poor outings.

He was in the bullpen, but the Sox were loathe to use him. Asked, memorably, why Buchholz hadn't been the choice to serve as a long reliever in a game in which the starter departed early, John Farrell candidly noted, in not so many words, that because the Sox still had a chance to win the game, Buchholz didn't make sense as an option.

Ouch.

But slowly, Buchholz became more effective in his new relief role. And when injuries struck the rotation, Buchholz got himself three cameo starts, during which he posted a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, topped by Tuesday's beauty -- 6 1/3 innings, one run allowed, nine strikeouts recorded.

Just as Buchholz has straightened out, however, Red Sox starters are suddenly stacked up like jets waiting for clearance to land at Logan Airport. Steven Wright returns from a brief DL stint Friday, and Eduardo Rodriguez is not far behind.

When he pitched poorly, the Red Sox didn't have any other options.

When he pitched well, the Red Sox have plenty of other choices.

So, now what?

"As far as Clay goes,'' said John Farrell, "this will be, I'm sure, a conversation (had) within (the organization). But setting that aside, he's throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.''

That's indisputable.

But the question remains: In what capacity will he throw the ball in the near future?

There's been a suggestion to keep Buchholz in the rotation while moving Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen. That would give the Sox a dependable lefty in relief -- as opposed to, say, Fernando Abad -- while also serving the dual purpose of putting a governor on Pomeranz's climbing innings total.

Pomeranz, who has plenty of bullpen experience in the big leagues, has also thrown 140 1/3 innings this season, eclipsing his previous major league high by nearly 40.

But Pomeranz is 27, not 21. He's shown no signs of fatigue. To the contrary, he's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts. The Sox shouldn't mess with his success.

Instead, Buchholz should become one of the team's high-leverage set-up weapons, available in the seventh or eighth inning.

True, Buchholz doesn't have the swing-and-miss capability you'd prefer to have in the eighth inning, where the fewer balls put in play, the better off you are. But he can get lefties and righties out, and, pitching out of the stretch full-time, he's greatly improved his command.

Buchholz would remain the best option for a spot start if one of the five Red Sox starters faltered or got hurt. But the bullpen remains the best choice for him.

Ironic, isn't it? When he pitched poorly, he remained in the rotation for several months. Now that he's pitching superbly, he can't earn a permanent spot.

It's been that kind of season.

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

With Wright and Rodriguez set to return, Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss whether Tuesday’s game against the Rays will be the last start for Clay Buchholz.