CAMBRIDGE -- Garin Cecchini hasn't had a single at-bat at Triple A yet, having split last season between High A Salem and Double A Portland.
But now that he's a part of the Red Sox' 40-man roster, took part in the showcase Arizona Fall League and will be part of themajor league spring training camp next month, the major leagues don't seem so far away.
"You can kind of sniff it right now," Cecchini said Friday as the Red Sox wrapped up their Rookie Development Program. "Like I said, you've just got to keep working and give it all you've got, especially going into big league camp and trying to soak everything in from the veterans, and kind of be a sponge and be all ears and no mouth."
Cecchini had both the highest batting average and on-base percentage of any Red Sox minor leaguer in 2013, hitting .322 with a .443 OBP.
"Garin's shown us a lot,'' said director of player development Ben Crockett, "within his progression at High A and Double A last year and then again in the (Arizona) Fall League. He's got an exceelent approach at the plate and one that could, in short stints, could hold its own at any level.
"There's obviously some development still to be done on both sides of the ball -- offensively as he continues to learn his swing and hitting against more veteran pitching as well as the defensive side. But the fact that he's here and the strides he's made and the success that he's had puts him in good position for that.''
Cecchini, who will open the season at either Portland or Pawtucket, knows there's still more work to be done.
''I just want to keep going on the upward trend that I've been going on,'' he said, "The past few years. Getting better at all aspects of the game -- baserunning, defense.''
Spending time in the Fall League with other elite prospects throughout the game was "an awesome experience. Learning the ropes, getting extra
at-bats, more reps on defense, just getting ready for big league camp.''
Of course, third base is full of options for the Sox. There's Will Middlebrooks, with parts of two seasons of big league experience. And if the Sox re-sign free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts will be in the picture at the position, too.
But that's for the Red Sox to worry about. Recently chosen as the best hitter for average with the best strike zone discipline of any Red Sox prospect in the system by Baseball America, Cecchini intends to keep moving closer to his goal.