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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Bogaerts gets first start at Fenway

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts, who made his Fenway Park debut Tuesday night as a defensive replacement at third base in the top of the ninth during Boston's 13-2 rout of the Baltimore Orioles, is starting at third Wednesday night.

“It will help for today,” he said of his brief appearance Tuesday night. “I was able to get all the butterflies out for today. Hopefully I can play good.”

The 20-year-old infielder was promoted to Boston on Aug. 20 and he went 3-for-9 with a double and RBI on the club’s recent road trip. Eventually, he will be the starting shortstop for the Red Sox, but with veteran Stephen Drew playing so well, Bogaerts will see some time at third and short for the remainder of the season.

A natural shortstop by trade, Bogaerts is still getting used to playing the hot corner.

“Man, I have a weird experience at third base,” he said with a smile. “Third base is a position where the ball doesn’t come to me a lot, and I don’t know why. It’s weird. I played a few games [in Pawtucket] before I got called up and I was getting maybe one, two balls a game hit to me. I played [third for the Netherlands] in the WBC, so I know how to play it a little bit.”

Prior to Bogaerts’ call-up from Pawtucket, PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina would send daily reports to Red Sox manager John Farrell on the infielder’s progression at third base.

“A work in progress,” Farrell said. “Particularly on the long and short hop, depending upon the speed of the runner because there’s different footwork that will be executed in reading that hop. And with just a handful of games there’s limited opportunity, so the early work was critical in him getting comfortable over there.

“He’s such a good athlete and he’s got that internal clock that we saw on the play at shortstop the other night out in LA where [Dodger Yasiel] Puig is flying down the line and [Bogaerts] doesn’t waste movement, he uses the ground to skip a throw. He’s got that instinct but the repetition at third, just because he’s been a shortstop his whole career, that’s a little bit on the short end.”

His mindset for his first start at Fenway is simple: “Just go out there and play baseball, that’s all I can do. I just play the way I can play,” Bogaerts said.

* As expected, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (neck/shoulder) will make his second minor league rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. The right-hander is scheduled to throw 50-55 pitches. On Tuesday, Farrell said that Buchholz would need a third minor league rehab start after that, but Wednesday the Red Sox manager suggested that if all goes well on Friday, it’s possible Buchholz’s next start could be with the Red Sox. At that point, Buchholz’s pitch count should increase to 70-75 pitches, and with the roster expanding on Sept. 1 there will be extra arms available.

Buchholz’s bullpen session on Wednesday went well. He tossed 15 pitches in the bullpen and another 15 with someone standing in the batter’s box.

* When major league rosters expand on Sept. 1, the Red Sox are expecting to have reinforcements ready to go. Farrell explained there could be a total of eight or nine minor-league call-ups, but not all of them will be here on Sunday. “Some of them will,” Farrell said. “I can’t say that all of them will be, but there’ll be some that will get here as soon as we expand.”

The PawSox’s magic number is four to clinch a playoff spot with six games to play in their season.

Players from Pawtucket that will likely get promoted are pitchers Allen Webster, Jose De La Torre and Rubby De La Rosa, along with outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Quentin Berry, infielder Brock Holt and catcher Ryan Lavarnway.