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Why Deven Marrero will be hob-nobbing with major leaguers this spring training

02.09.13 at 12:45 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ The Red Sox are trying something new.

For the first time in recent memory, the team is allowing a position player join the major league camp in spring training just one year after being drafted.

The player will be shortstop Deven Marrero, the team’€™s first-round pick out of Arizona State.

“We looked at it and talked about it,’€ said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. ‘€œWe haven’t taken a college position player that high in a while, and he’s a kid that we’ve known for so long, back to high school. Typically, it’s not something we do very much, bringing a draftee from the previous year into camp. We felt like in this case, we knew him well enough because we had scouted him all the way back to high school, and he’d been through a lot and played a lot of baseball at a high level — college, Team USA — and played a premium position. We just wanted to get him exposed to the major-league staff and felt like it was appropriate to do in this case.’€

Cherington downplayed the long-term effects of the move, saying this isn’€™t necessarily a sign the team will be pushing prospects on a faster track to the major leagues (as has been the trend throughout baseball).

The 22-year-old Marrero played in 64 games with Single-A Lowell last season, getting 248 at-bats after totaling 218 at-bats earlier in the year with Arizona State. With the Spinners, the shortstop hit .268 with a .358 on-base percentage and 24 stolen bases (caught six times).

‘€œWe felt he was ready to be exposed to major league camp and be able to handle it a way that was productive despite the fact he just joined us,’€ Cherington said. ‘€œWe felt comfortable that way in part because we felt we’ve known him so long even though we just signed him last summer. So I don’t think it’s a departure from anything. It doesn’t mean he’s going to start at this level or that level. That will be determined at the end of camp. We have a little bit of a spacing issues with our shortstops. We have a number who need to play every day so we need to make sure they’re spaced out and we’ll see where all that ends up.’€

The general manager also put an end to any speculation there would be a competition at shortstop with the major league team, identifying Stephen Drew as the starter.

“If Stephen’s healthy, he’s the shortstop,’€ he said. ‘€œThat’s what he was signed to come here and do. As everyone knows, there’s been this revolving door at that position for us. There’s no hiding that. Somehow we’ve had some success even despite that along the way, because that goes back a ways. That said, I think we’re actually in as strong a position as we’ve been in some time as far as the shortstop depth in the system and the options we have moving forward. Certainly [Jose} Iglesias is one of those, and [Xander] Bogaerts, and Marrero who you guys will see in camp and past that, some guys at the lower levels too. We would still like to have a shortstop that we can count on for a number of years. We think hopefully we’re closer to that. Expect Stephen to do the job this year.’€

For a list of non-roster invitees, click here.

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