BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell did not bite when asked about whether his impressions of Xander Bogaerts as a pinch hitter have greatly changed after the 21-year-ld rookie drew a pair of walks in key situations at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
“Two more at-bats more, two walks. Not trying to reinvent the wheel here,” Farrell said when asked what he has learned in utilizing Bogaerts in those situations. “The one thing we can say today we couldn’t’ say the other day is he’s been on the field in a playoff situation.”
As for Bogaerts’ ability to draw those free passes, it only reinforces the organization’s mindset from the beginning.
“Continuation of the player he’s been at the minor league level and in the short number of at-bats since he’s come to the big leagues,” Farrell said. “There’s a presence about him. There’s an emotional control about him. He sits for a week with no real game activity and then we put him up in a pretty critical spot and the same patience, the same approach remains. It’s what our entire development staff has seen since the day he signed with us. ... That’s a very patient approach.”
Neither the Tigers nor the A’s have a left-handed starter, so Bogaerts will not be supplanting Stephen Drew in the starting lineup, barring anything unforeseen. [UPDATE: The Tigers beat the A's in Game 5 on Thursday night to advance to the ALCS against the Sox.] There remains the possibility Bogaerts could give Will Middlebrooks a breather if the latter begins to struggle, and the club has more confidence in Bogaerts in a pinch than it did a week ago.