Future looks bright for Sox prospect Bradley, Jr.

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Future looks bright for Sox prospect Bradley, Jr.

BOSTON For Jackie Bradley, it was a year of opening some eyes and making his mark. In his first full season, the Red Sox fourth pick in the first round (40th overall) in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina, hit .315 with nine home runs, 63 RBI, a .430 on-base percentage, and a .482 slugging percentage in 128 combined games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

But it was also a season of listening and learning for him.

Just listening to my body, Bradley said Friday morning. Listening to what its telling me and being able to make adjustments daily, whether its during the game or the preparation before the game. I actually developed a routine this year maybe halfway when I was in Portland. I didnt really have a routine. So just developing that and sticking with that is what I learned the most.

Bradley -- who was at Harvard Friday morning, one of 11 Red Sox prospects in the organizations week-long rookie development program did slow down at the end of the season. In his last 10 games, he went 7-for-27, batting .259, with just two extra-base hits.

His focus this season?

Being healthy, he said. Staying healthy once again. Sticking with a routine. Still developing, progressing the way things are supposed. Just trying to make sure winnings a top priority.

But, its the maturity he displayed throughout the past season and paying attention when learning experiences presented themselves that the Red Sox noticed.

Thats a huge thing for him to come in really in his first full season, dominating High A the way he did, pushed his way to Double A, said Ben Crockett, the Sox farm director. But the way he handled it and he gets a lot of attention, as he should, and had previously based on his success in college. I think the way he was able to handle that and go out and take care of his business every day, the passion that he continued to show. You watch him shag in centerfield during batting practice and all the guys joke with him about his power shagging because he takes it really seriously. Hes working on something at all times. The way that he was able to maintain that throughout the year and offseason was pretty impressive.

One of the goals of the mini camp is to help young players prepare for big league life, both on and off the field, and get ready for the rigors of playing in Boston.

I think it isnt necessarily one personality type that can do it, Crockett said. But certainly Jackies comfort and confidence with himself to be who he is. Hes been accountable and I think maybe most importantly hes shown to us in a short period of time despite the performance when he doesnt perform well and the team wins, hes happy. I think that focus on team helps all these guys.

I think thats something that definitely Jackie embodies and a lot of these guys do and thats part of the reason they're here.

As a minor leaguer, though, sometimes that focus on team can be confounding. A young player wants to shine and get noticed, with the hope of earning a promotion.

Yeah, obviously, you arent going to move up if somebody else is doing really good, said Bradley, who turns 23 in April. But you still got to stay within, because it is a team sport. You cant really do it by yourself. Everything has to work together in order to win. And thats pretty much what we want to do. Winning trumps everything. Once everyone gets a better understanding of that, well be able to win.

Bradley appeared in 114 combined games in center field, and one in right, serving as the designated hitter in 12. He posted a combined .973 fielding percentage in center, committing seven errors in 260 chances, with three assists.

With Jacoby Ellsburys impending free agency after this season, Bradley has been tabbed by many observers as the Sox center fielder of the future. While neither he nor the organization has been willing to run with that, he will take an opportunity that is presented.

I see opportunity anyway, he said. Just being able to take advantage of every single opportunity that you get, whatever that may be, Ill make sure Im ready for it.

Bryce Brentz, who earned a late-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket last season, and Alex Hassan are also in camp. They represent what could be the Sox outfield of the future.

Yeah, you hope so, Crockett said. I think theres guys that certainly have that potential. There's guys that the three guys here have all the talent to impact. But I think certainly all three have some development still to do and itll be up to them to kind of drive that and up to us to help them get there.

Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

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Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.