Xander Bogaerts reflects on his first full month in the majors
|04.30.14 at 6:35 pm ET|
The forecast today in Aruba: 84 degrees, partly cloudy with a light breeze. Meanwhile, back in Boston, the Red Sox cancelled their game against the Rays on a low-40 degree, frigid April evening with an imminent threat of rain showers. So after spending the first 16 years of his life in Aruba in April, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, understandably, is not quite yet used to Boston’s mercurial April weather patterns.
“Bring some of that hot weather, bro,” Bogaerts chuckled. “We need it, man.”
Wednesday marked the end of Bogaerts’ first month in the big leagues, a stretch where the 21-year-old hit .278/.387/.378 with one home runs, five RBI and six doubles. While Bogaerts achieved relative success for a rookie in April, he’s struggled in the field, committing four errors, mostly on throwing blunders. Through all of the ups and downs, Bogaerts was surprised with his April performance.
“I’m surprised with the way that I’m doing in April, but it’s been tough,” Bogaerts said. “I’m working through it and definitely the weather is going to get better, it’ll be all right.”
Bogaerts has historically struggled through the first month of the season, attributing a lot of the struggles to his lack of exposure to cold weather in April. Through the first 10 games of the 2013 season with the Portland Sea Dogs, Bogaerts struggled at the plate, going 7-for-41. Bogaerts thinks that the cold affects his approach at the plate during the early parts of the season.
“At the plate, in the cold, I tend to lose my aggressiveness sometimes,” Bogaerts said. “It’s just something about my body that doesn’t feel normal so that’s one of the bad things. It’ll be alright.
Bogaerts’ early season struggles have loomed over his defensive work as well. The cold weather affected Bogaerts’ ability to grip the baseball, perhaps contributing to some of his errant throws in the first month.
“It’s not that easy if you’re having a long evening, being out there in a long inning,” Bogaerts said. “Try to catch the ball and be mentally strong. There’s not much you can do to improve your grip. You just have to go with it and try to throw the ball right into Mike Napoli‘s area, in his chest or wherever, so just try to be consistent.”
Once the Boston weather more closely matches today’s forecast in Aruba, Bogaerts believes that everything will start to improve for him.
“I’m pretty surprised with how defense has been going so far, but it’ll get better,” Bogaerts said. “Once my body starts feeling the way it should be, I’ll be rolling.”
Moving forward, Bogaerts hopes to improve his approach at the plate with runners in scoring position and try to reduce his propensity to swing at the high fastball.
“They are not going to throw you something right down the middle so just try to battle through it right now,” Bogaerts said. “With the high fastball, you see it as a pitch you think you can handle but it just gets by you.”
Big picture, Bogaerts just wants to improve every aspect of his game and help the team find its way back into the postseason.
“Finish the year strong, offensively and defensively,” Bogaerts said. “Just helping the team win and hopefully get to the playoffs again. It would definitely be awesome to do the same as last year so just try to have a good approach with runners in scoring position.”
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