Beltre didn’t make decision on the park
|03.12.10 at 1:03 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Part of the perception as to why Adrian Beltre chose the Red Sox‘ offer of one year guaranteed at $10 million, rather than that of Oakland, who came in with a three-year proposal at comparable money was because of Fenway Park.
Even though Beltre’s numbers at his new home park are not good — .179 batting average in 16 games — it is suggested that over the course of an entire season Fenway’s dimensions will be conducive to the third baseman’s right-handed swing. Last season, six of Beltre’s eight homers went to left field, and he has spent much of his career identified as primarily a pull hitter.
Still, according to Beltre, Fenway was not a factor in making his choice.
“I thought the team had a real good opportunity to win the World Series. I focus on the team, not the place I’m playing,” he said. “I had an early offer from Philadelphia, so… I don’t play for numbers. I don’t focus on numbers.”
As for his lack of production in his previous visits to Fenway, Beltre said it had little to do with the park (or the way approach the Red Sox took), and more to do with who was throwing the ball. He has a point. Here are his numbers against some of the Red Sox’ starters over the past few years:
Josh Beckett: 4-for-23, .179
Tim Wakefield: 0-for-16, .000
Daisuke Matsuzaka: 2-for-15, .133
Jon Lester: 4-for-11, .364
Jonathan Papelbon: 0-for-7, .000
“I can’t say exactly (they approach him differently), but you face Beckett, you face Lester, I hated facing Wakefield, I couldn’t even touch him,” Beltre said. “It’s not only how they pitch you, but the kind of pitcher that you face. Most of the time we face these guys it’s the kind of guy we face every time, Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, those guys really give me a hard time.
“It’s going to be different because I used to play against these guys. For of all, I’m not going to be facing this pitching staff, which is a plus, and playing with a team that has a really good chance to win. The fact also that we’re going to go the ballpark that’s sold out every day, it gives you a little bit of a edge. Every day it feels like you’re playing for something.”
Then there is the other part of Beltre’s new ballpark that he will be dealing with: the field.
“It’s not the best, but it’s been better the last couple of years,” Beltre said. “I haven’t seen it this year yet, so I can’t comment on it now. I hope to learn the first couple of weeks to see how it’s going to play. Hopefully it’s good because when you have a field you feel comfortable in it makes you feel better. Seattle is really good. I’ve played in two ballparks that are really good. To me, the best in the business was L.A. Their stadium is unbelievable. Seattle was also really good. Fenway ‘s not close to those, but I hope it will be OK.”
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