Bogaerts showing improvement at shortstop

Bogaerts showing improvement at shortstop
March 4, 2014, 6:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Xander Bogaerts has been doing a lot of extra work with coach Brian Butterfield this spring, attempting to learn some of the finer points of playing shortstop.

In the first inning of the Red Sox' 8-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, some of that work paid off, even if it didn't result in an out being recorded.

With runners on first and second and two out, Bogaerts ranged deep into the shortstop hole and gloved a ball hit by the Rays' Logan Forsythe. Bogaerts then quickly planted his feet and made a strong throw to first baseman Mike Napoli, chest high. Forsythe was safe by a half-step.

Still, Bogaerts made an impression.

"I think what we're seeing," said manager John Farrell, "is the range that we've talked about with him. There's always been subjective comments about whether he's got the range to play the position and what we've seen, before camp even opened and the work in games, is that he should be fine at the position defensively.''

"With a runner at second, you definitely have to get to that ball," said Bogaerts. "You just couldn't let it get past you. That play and diving up the middle, getting up and making a good throw to first base -- those are the toughest plays for a shortstop to make.''

Bogaerts said the attention to footwork with Butterfield helped him make a strong accurate throw.

"Definitely," he said. "I normally bounce that ball, but it was good to get a good throw like that. If I make that throw last year, I probably would have bounced that."

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