BOSTON -- Despite the Boston Red Sox facing Baltimore Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, manager John Farrell decided to start left-handed hitting Stephen Drew and not prospect Xander Bogaerts.
“I’m not going to turn away from Stephen Drew,” Farrell said. “He’s been a very good player for us. Probably game 7 after he came back from the DL until now, he’s been one of our most consistent hitters. He’s been a very good shortstop defensively for us, and I just don’t want to let the splits of a given starter determine, and cause to turn away from a guy who has been very good for us.”
Bogaerts said after batting practice that he's not disappointed he's not in the lineup.
“Oh no, definitely not. Like I said before, these guys played 130 games without me so I’m just here to contribute. I don’t have to help anybody, I’m just here to contribute and do the best I can to hopefully win some games when I’m in there," he said.
Overall, Drew is hitting .198 against left-handers this season, but he’s been swinging the bat well of late. Entering Tuesday’s game, Drew is hitting .307 in the last 27 games with seven doubles, five homers and 20 RBIs.
Against lefties, "he’s not pulling off pitches that are on the outside of the plate, whether it's from a lefty who’s got a little bit more of an angle versus one that’s a little bit more over the top,” Farrell said. “To sit here and say he [hasn't] earned the right to start against lefties would be short-sighting an awful lot that he’s done over a long period of time.”
With the glove, Drew has been steady.
“He’s technically sound," said Farrell. "He might not show you the flash that some other shortstops do, but as far as turning a double play and making every play at critical points of the game, he’s very dependable.”
Bogaerts spent the early afternoon taking ground balls at both shortstop and third base along with Drew, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Since his promotion to Boston on Aug. 20, the past week has been busy and enjoyable, he said. He went 3-for-9 with a double and RBI on the team’s recent road trip.
“It’s definitely a lot different compared to the minors,” he said. “I’m really enjoying every moment of it. Thankful that we won a few games, that made the week a lot better. I’m just thankful to be here.”
Despite being the most-talked-about prospect in the Red Sox organization, Bogaerts is not putting any undue pressure on himself, especially now that he’s reached the big leagues.
“My expectation -- I just go out and play baseball,” he said. “Try to have fun every morning of it, and once I don’t have fun that’s when things start going bad. So just go back and enjoy the game.”
Even though the Red Sox wanted him to get accustomed to playing third base at the minor-league level, Bogaerts’ future will be as a shortstop, and that’s what he wants.
“Oh definitely a shortstop. That’s where I feel more comfortable,” he said. “To get to the big leagues this year I had to play some third base. I liked it, in the WBC I played with some guys that made it a lot more easier for me, but shortstop is definitely my more natural [position].”
Prior to his call up, Bogaerts hit a combined .297 between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland this season with 23 doubles, six triples, 15 homers and 67 RBIs.