Betts continues to get familiar with center field

Betts continues to get familiar with center field
August 20, 2014, 12:30 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON - At this rate, Mookie Betts is going to know Fenway's outfield like the back of his hand in no time.

Playing in his second straight game at center field since being called up to the Sox on Monday, Betts was a busy man Tuesday night.

The results were a bit mixed.

Betts made a spectacular catch at the wall in the triangle during the second inning to rob David Freese of a two-run home run. Instead, he turned it into a double play as the Angels' Erick Aybar was off on the hit, and had no chance of getting back to first base in time.

Freese got Betts back later in the 4th inning, though. He lined one towards Betts in center, who made a diving play on the ball but came up short. The ball skipped to the wall and Freese was in with a triple.

"Looks like he got a little bit of a late read on Freese's ball . . . the sinking line drive," John Farrell said. "It was aggressive. Trying to make a diving catch. But Webby (Allen Webster) picked him up by leaving a runner stranded. 

"[In the second inning], he goes and tracks a ball well in deep right-center field. Takes a home run away that turns into a double [play]. I thought overall he did a solid job in center."

Betts is an athletic kid, as evidenced by the fact he's been able to make the transition from second base to outfield. There are going to be nights where he makes great catches like the one he made on Tuesday, and nights where he makes a late break like the one he made on, well, Tuesday.

That's all part of the learning process and why he's up here to begin with.

"I think any game played in center field is going to be a positive experience for him given that he's gone through a positional change this season," Farrell said, "particularly against Major League hitters and their ability to drive the ball a little bit more consistently here than might be otherwise at the Triple-A level. So every game here is going to be a positive one for him."

That's how Betts sees it as well, admitting he's getting acclimated in Fenway's center field, but he's not all there yet.

"I wouldn't say I'm fairly comfortable but I wouldn't say that I'm timid out there either," Betts said. "I think I still have a lot of things to learn but I think I've learned a lot along the way."

So, what's he learned about Fenway's center field in particular?

"There's a lot of things around the wall," Betts said. "Different angles. Balls carry different in different angles. So there's a lot that I'm learning pretty much."

Coming up in college and the minors, Betts never thought he'd have to consider playing angles on outfield walls, but he's embracing it now.

"It's a big adjustment," he said, "but I think I can handle it."