FORT MYERS, Fla. Lars Anderson appears to be stuck. With first baseman Adrian Gonzalez entering the second year of a seven-year, 154 million contract, Anderson, 24, has little hope of being the Red Sox starting first baseman in the foreseeable future.
It seemed he had found a quicker route to the big leagues in July. But the trade that would have brought right-hander Rich Harden to Boston and sent Anderson to Oakland, near his northern California home, was scuttled when the Red Sox were not satisfied with Hardens medical reports.
Instead, Anderson, who was the teams most highly rated prospect two years ago, remains with the Sox, likely headed back to a third season with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said, while Anderson is close to being ready for the big leagues, hes not quite there yet. Anderson, who made his big league debut in 2010 and has appeared in 24 major league games, hit .265 with 14 home runs, 78 RBI, a .369 on-base percentage, and .422 slugging percentage in 136 games for Pawtucket last season.
I agree totally with him, when he says that hes in a developing stage of his career, Valentine said. But hes up toward the height of development, that he feels that hes ready to take some really imp steps. That wouldnt be, in my mind, at the big league level. Those steps would be getting to the big league level. Hes close. Hes not there. I like what Ive seen and I like what I hear. I like him.
Anderson has appeared in six of the teams 10 games (Grapefruit League and B games) this spring, all at first base. But manager Bobby Valentine said Anderson, who has only played first base in his five-year career, could add some time in the outfield this spring to his resume.
Hes going to play some outfield, Valentine said. Hes going to run around a little. Im not sure that nows the time. It could be, but dont think it will be. Therell be other situations that will make it his time. I dont think its his time, independent of other things happening.
Valentine would also like Anderson to understand himself more as a hitter, his approach and his plan at the plate.
I think he could play first base at the big league level, Valentine said. I think he could play definitely at first base. I think he has to learn a little more about himself as a hitter, as to how hes going to hit that ball high and far in this direction. How hes going to be able to do it, and hes learning that.