Bogaerts a hit at the plate, a miss in the field

Bogaerts a hit at the plate, a miss in the field
April 29, 2014, 5:15 pm
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BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts has hit safely in his last 10 games and reached base in 21 of the 24 games in which he's appeared. His .287 batting average is second among American League rookies and his OBP of .392 is third among first-year players.

But if there's been a disappointment to Bogaerts' game in the first month of the season, it's been his range -- or lack thereof -- at shortstop.

Bogaerts' UZR rating -- which measures range -- was recently as low as 26th among the 30 shortstops in the big leagues. And beyond advanced metrics there's the old-fashioned eye test. Bogaerts has had difficulty getting to balls hit up the middle, toward second base.

Manager John Farrell said the extra work Bogaerts has been doing with third-base coach -- and infield instructor -- Brian Butterfield "is the one thing [Bogaerts] can control. The more experience he gets out there and the ability to read swings, particularly against our starters as he gets familiar with all that's involved, there will be an ability to anticipate and read some those swings.

"He's done a very good job with balls [hit] at him. I think the one area that you probably see [some improvement that is necessary] is to the glove side, and that first-step quickness toward that direction is where the work continues.''

Bogaerts played more third base than shortstop in the final five weeks of last year, plus the postseason. That position is vastly different than short, requiring more quick reaction time than reads and lateral movement. But Farrell rejection the notion that Bogaerts is struggling to return to the demands of the shortstop position.

"I wouldn't say that,'' said Farrell. "I think you're looking at a different speed of the game here than he's experienced at any level in the minor leagues. We do incorporate a number of shifts and we're against the grain a little bit in some of those shifts, where he's got to recover and go back to a spot, that's at play a little bit. "But I think it's as much (due) to getting familiar and the speed of the game that's is the difference.''