Xander Bogaerts on Stephen Drew: ‘You hear about it every day’
|02.22.14 at 9:24 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Xander Bogaerts can’t help but hear the whispers about Stephen Drew.
The 21-year-old phenom knows he can’t control whether Drew returns to the Red Sox sometime this spring. Bogaerts said Saturday all he can do is try to put his best foot forward and show the Red Sox that he’s ready to be their everyday shortstop.
“You hear it every day, especially you media guys talk about it a lot,” Bogaerts said. “It’s something you hear a lot but you can’t focus on that. You just have to focus on baseball and try to help the team.”
[Click here to listen to Xander Bogaerts speak Saturday about “trying to act like a grown person.”]
Last spring, Bogaerts came to camp as the 20-year-old hot prospect who figured to start in the high minors after his appearance for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, splitting time in camp between third base and short. Twelve months later, he’s the future of the Red Sox middle infield.
“It’s good when you have to focus on one position. Last year was third and short so you had to get work at two positions but now, hopefully, I can get it at one.”
Even after showing he could handle the bright lights and big stage of the postseason and World Series last year – earning the starting job at third base in the playoffs – he speaks with the humility of a borderline talent just trying to make the roster.
“Last year, Drew was here so you know the chances were slim to none,” he said. “Hopefully, this year I can win the job. I was in camp but only one or two weeks and left for the WBC. This is actually my first spring training, I would say. Hopefully, I’ll be here till the end.
“I try to act like a grown person. I’m still 21. You just have to do things the right way, see the way veteran players go about their business, especially baseball-wise. Off the field, hopefully I don’t have problems. I don’t go out a lot, I don’t drink. So, that definitely helps you stay away from trouble.”
Bogaerts joked that he knows he’s the last stop on the merry-go-round that has been shortstop for second baseman Dustin Pedroia, something the second baseman reminded him of again on Friday.
“I heard that again but hopefully, I’m here to stay and here for a long time,” Bogaerts said.
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