Sox' Bogaerts excited for WBC; will play third base

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Sox' Bogaerts excited for WBC; will play third base

FORT MYERS, Fla. Xander Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, is looking forward to representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

Its going to be exciting, said the Red Sox highly regarded shortstop prospect. Those guys that that Ive played with growing up, its going to be fun playing with them again.

But with the Netherlands roster stocked with several highly regarded shortstops, including the Rangers' Jurickson Profar and the Braves' Andrelton Simmons, who both made their major league debuts last season, Bogaerts, rated by Baseball America as the Sox top prospect and the No. 58 prospect in all of baseball, will have to move off his usual position to compete for playing time at third base.

No problem, Bogaerts said, sitting in front of his locker in the clubhouse of the teams spring training complex Friday morning.

Just to be able to play and be in the lineup, thats whats important for me. And to be able to play and help the team win, thats important to me.

Since joining the Sox as an amateur free agent in August 2009, Bogaerts has not played anywhere but shortstop. He doesnt even remember the last time he played third base.

No, maybe when I was small in Little League, he said. But, no, not for a while. So itll be different.

Manager John Farrell said earlier in the week that Bogaerts, who is in his first big league camp, will work out at third base before he leaves March 1 to compete in the WBC. Bogaerts hasnt yet begun working out there, but expects to in the next few days.

But there has been speculation that Bogaerts may eventually have to move off his natural position. He is listed as 6-feet-3, 175 pounds. At just 20 years old, on Oct. 1, there is a good likelihood that he will continue to fill out.

All of which has fueled the speculation that he will eventually move to third.

I dont think of it in that way, Bogaerts said. Because I know the Netherlands are full of shortstops. And for me to be able to play its going to be difficult to play at that position. So Im a shortstop right now its just that to be able to play I have to move off my position.

While Bogaerts considers himself a shortstop, he didnt rule out an eventual move.

Shortstop is going to be the position long-term, he said. Im, working hard trying to stay at shortstop. Thats the only position I know playing right now.

But, whatever to help the team win. Wherever they need me to play, Ill be able to contribute at that position.

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods both Steven Wright and Blake Swihart are ready to go for spring training.

Wright suffered a shoulder injury from sliding back into second as a pinch runner against the Dodgers in August, ending his All-Star season far too soon. The knuckleballer went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season.

“His shoulder has been feeling good,” Dombrowski said of Wright, who was not at the event due to a prior engagement. “He’s out there throwing, so he feels good.”

Swihart saw his season end even sooner than Wright, after spraining his left ankle June 4 tracking down a foul ball in left field near the wall at Fenway Park. He played in only 19 games last season. 

“[Swihart] said he feels great,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going right from here down to Florida and he said he’s ready to go.”

Swihart will move back to the catcher position for spring training, with his goal of winning the job over Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. The ankle might’ve been a cause for concern had the Red Sox handled the situation differently, but by all accounts he’s OK to catch again.

“They tell me [there’s no reason for concern],” Dombrowski said. “I guess I’m really not knowledgeable to say that, but the doctors and trainers have told me no.

"That’s why they went and had the surgery because they felt the way the tendon kept slipping that [there was a] possibility it would bother him more. But after the surgery now, they feel there will not be any problems in that regard.”