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Bobby Valentine now knows why Bryce Brentz hit 30 HRs last season

03.07.12 at 5:40 pm ET
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DUNEDIN, Fla. — It was the end of the managerial press conference following a 3-3 tie between the Red Sox and Blue Jays, looking like Bobby Valentine had said all he wanted to say. But then came one more thing.

“And I can tell you this, one kid is a little different,” Valentine said. “That Bryce kid, when the ball comes off his bat it’s a little different. A little different.

“I was walking around the outside fields one day. I thought our guys were going to hit, so I went on the mound and started throwing BP, thinking it was one of our groups early on. It turned out to be a minor league group. He was in it. It was different.”

That kid was Bryce Brentz.

Brentz, came away with a single in his only at-bat against the Blue Jays, is coming off a 2011 season in which he hit a combined 30 home runs between Single-A Salem and Greenville. And once he was informed of Valentine’s comments, it was clear the 23-year-old had gotten off to a good start in ’12.

“It means a lot in my first game to come up here with the big boys and for him to make a generous statement like that, it makes you feel good as a young player,” Brentz said.

Brentz was a first-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2010 draft, having played three seasons at Middle Tennessee St. Besides hitting for power at Greenville (11 homers in 40 games), he also hit .359 with an OPS of 1.061. Once promoted to Salem the outfielder only slowed a bit, hitting .274 with an .868 OPS to go along with 19 homers in 75 games.

“I think I’€™m ready to get up to Double A,” he said. “Salem, last year was a good season, but you know, it really wasn’€™t that big of a difference, talent-wise or whatever. Not saying anybody was bad there, everybody there was a great ,player but I’€™m ready for a higher challenge, personally.”

He later added, “I feel like I learn more after a season when I look back and reflect. Big thing I wanted to do last year was not throw away at-bats and I felt like I didn’€™t. you can always improve any part of your game.

I sat and talked for about two innings with Big Papi [David Ortiz] and he was telling me, ‘€˜Keep your eyes up because you’€™ll learn something new every day.’€™ And he’€™s right.”

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