The Sox took on Northeastern and BC yesterday in the first game-type action of the year. In the second game, the prospects got some solid game action.
(ESPN Boston) FORT MYERS, Fla. — Takeaways from Camp Farrell, Day 11:
* The hustling lads from Northeastern had a better day of it, turning three snappy double plays and getting a diving catch, hit, and stolen base from junior outfielder Aaron Barbosa, who on this day was the pride of Dracut, Mass. The men from the Heights had their moments, none better than when Boston College junior third baseman John Hennessy, of the Andover, Mass. Hennessys, hit Koji Uehara‘s first pitch of the second game up the middle for a single, reviving memories of BC punter Johnny Ayers swatting Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s first stateside offering for a double in 2007.
In the end, though, the Red Sox preserved their undefeated record against their collegiate foes, beating NU 3-0 and BC 11-1 in a couple of seven-inning affairs. They are now 11-0 against the Huskies, 23-0 against the Eagles, but no one’s really counting.
If you insist on keeping score, count this as the day’s most poignant moment: when former BC pitcher Terry Doyle, auditioning for a job with the Sox, pushed the wheelchair bearing his former BC teammate, Pete Frates, to the mound where Frates, a warrior against ALS, presented the ceremonial first ball to Sox manager John Farrell.
* Can’t say I noticed, but one of the Sox security guards was mentioning how this was about as quiet a day of baseball as he’s witnessed in a long time. The attendance for the day was listed at 8,128, and folks seemed to be cheering in the right places, when they weren’t offering prayers of thanks that they won’t be home for this weekend’s storm.
* Daniel Bard took a positive first step in what he hopes will be a successful reclamation project, and Farrell said it looked to him like the 13 pitchers who got in some work have taken to the admonition to attack the strike zone early. There was only one walk in the NU game, two in the BC game.
* While the regulars, except for catcher David Ross, all got two plate appearances in the first game, the second game will be the one that left a stronger impression, as two of the team’s top prospects, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., played in their first game in a Boston uniform, and did so together.
Bogaerts, playing his first game at third base after taking ground balls there for just two days, looked perfectly at ease, handling the couple of balls hit his way, including one that required a long throw from behind the bag. He also doubled and hit the ball hard in four at-bats.
“Exciting young player,” Farrell said of Bogaerts. “Regardless if he’s standing at third or short, he’s a presence in the [batter's] box. Hard contact today.
“In Game 2 I think there was a little glimpse of the future somewhat. I thought [Bogaerts] played easily at third. I thought [Brock] Holt showed some very good range at short. And you were able to quickly see what everyone is raving about, the precision of [Bradley's] routes, his jumps.
“All three are bright, good-looking players. What might have been most impressive was seeing [Bradley] standing at second base on that pop-up, not taking anything for granted. It was exciting to see that kind of polish to a young player.”
Bogaerts is scheduled to play in just one more game, replacing starter Will Middlebrooks at third in Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener here against Tampa Bay, before flying to Taiwan to join Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
“The Red Sox are my first priority,” Bogaerts said. “They have given me the opportunity [to play in the WBC]. I’m thankful for that.”
He flashed a big smile. “I’ll be back, though.”
Bradley, meanwhile, expressed an awareness of what the future could hold.
“It was definitely something we’ve been working on,” he said of playing together with Bogaerts. “Just trying to play hard. If we’re both on the same field at the same time in the future, that would be great. He’s a great player. I’m honored be on the same field with him.”
Bradley also expressed appreciation for that quaint notion, hustling, as a key component of making a good impression.
“You always want to do the right things,” he said. “Make sure you’re hustling at all times. Don’t take any plays off. Any time you take a play off, they’re going to see it.”
* Which makes me close this edition of takeaways with a prayer to the baseball gods: Please, please, keep these kids just the way they are. Wonderfully talented, off-the-charts makeup, still unspoiled and pure.