Credit Betts with a save after spectacular catch

Credit Betts with a save after spectacular catch
August 2, 2014, 1:30 am
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BOSTON - The Red Sox were clinging on to a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning after Derek Jeter hit a solo shot over the Green Monster.

Up came Jacoby Ellsbury, the former Red Sox center fielder, now Yankees $153-million-dollar man.

Swing and a drive to deep center field - but this time there was no Jackie Bradley Jr. to bail the Red Sox out.

Have no fear, Mookie Betts did his best Bradley Jr. impersonation bee-lining it to the warning track, leaping, and making an over-the-shoulder catch before hitting the ground, robbing Ellsbury of a sure triple, maybe more. Check out the video.

"Heck of a play," John Farrell said of the catch. "Going back on the ball. Leaping catch at a pivotal time in the game, particularly after Jeter's solo home run to start off the eighth inning. But for a guy who's transitioned positions inside this year, a very athletic play."

Betts is a second basemen who the Sox are making into an outfielder. It's not because Betts can't play second base, but because Dustin Pedroia can. It's not the easiest transition, Betts will admit, but a catch like that can do a lot for his confidence.

"Once I caught it I kind of rolled over off the ground and looked in my glove and it was there," Betts said. "So I was just happy about that."

The next batter, Mark Teixeira hit a ground-rule double to left field, making Betts' catch that much more important. It's something he can build off of.

"I think it just shows that I believe that I can go get the ball," Betts said. "Sometimes I don't get the right jumps or don't take the right routes, but just having done that today I feel like I took a step forward.

"I think I'm still getting more comfortable. I felt the catch today made me a little more confident being out there. But I'm still learning stuff every day."

The plan isn't for Betts to stick with the team right now. He'll be sent back down to the PawSox and get more regular playing time. When his name is called again, he'll be ready.

"Same preparation here as back in Triple-A. The game doesn't change, just the places do."