FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In something of a departure, the Red Sox have invited shortstop Deven Merrero, their first-round pick from last year, to big league camp this spring. Typically, young players aren't invited to major league spring training until they've had a few seasons of pro ball.
"We haven't taken a college position player that high in a while,'' explained general manager Ben Cherington, "but he's a kid we've known for so long, back to high school. Typically, it's not something we do -- bringing in a draftee from the previous draft into camp.
"But we felt in this case, we knew him well enough, that he'd been through a lot, played a lot of baseball -- college, Team USA and played a premium position. We just want to get him exposed to the major league staff and we felt like it was appropriate to do it at this case.''
"We felt he was ready to be exposed to major league camp and he'll handle it in a way that's productive -- despite the fact that he just joined us. I think we were a little comfortable with that because we've known him for so long. I don't think it's a departure (from policy) or anything. It doesn't mean that he's going to start at this level or that level. -- that will be determined at the end of camp.''
The organization's top two position prospects -- infielder Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley -- will also be in major league camp.
"Both guys are pretty mature for their age and level,'' said Cherington, "and they've both accomplished some things on the field. I expect both to come into camp and be professional, treat the older guys with respect and when they're on the field, do what they can do.
"They're both talented kids and they don't need to take a back seat to anyone once they're on the field, so, it will be good for them and fun for us to see them."