Pawtucket Red Sox notes: Mookie Betts ‘made an impact’ before call-up, Will Middlebrooks works through latest setback, Garin Cecchini adjusts well to outfield
|06.30.14 at 9:03 am ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — He only played 23 games for the Pawtucket Red Sox, but Mookie Betts made his impact felt in a big way. The 21-year-old hit .322/.425/.444 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, three doubles, one triple, 16 walks and 13 strikeouts. Betts made the transition to Triple-A seamlessly and built off the torrid performance he had at the start of the 2014 season for Double-A Portland.
Betts’ hot start for the PawSox came at a time when he was learning the outfield, an entirely new position for the second baseman. At the same time, Betts was the second-youngest player in Triple-A behind only Javier Baez of the Cubs, but he displayed the maturity and poise of someone much older in his short time at McCoy Stadium.
PawSox manager Kevin Boles says that Betts did a tremendous job right out of the gate.
“He’s performed and he’s done very well,” Boles said. “He’s provided some versatility, and I think that’s something that we’re starting to see more value in, guys who have increased their versatility. He’s definitely made an impact in Portland and he made an impact here. High energy, boost to the clubhouse, and if he gets an opportunity at the major league level, that’ll continue. He’s had a terrific year and done a tremendous job. What an exciting player.”
As the latest hotshot prospect in the Red Sox system, Betts undoubtedly will garner a lot of attention. While some rookies may become overwhelmed by the sudden influx of attention, Boles says that won’t be the case with Betts.
“I think that the attention he got in Portland, I think he’s prepared for it, especially with the attention he got in Pawtucket and how things have happened at a pretty rapid pace for him,” Boles said. “He’s handled it beautifully and he’s been able to separate. He doesn’t take it out on the field. I think with his performance it hasn’t been a distraction at all. He’s able to be accommodating while being able to stay focused on the field, and performance speaks for itself.”
— After being shut down by the team, Will Middlebrooks is waiting things out on his broken right index finger. Prior to Sunday’s game against the Durham Bulls, Middlebrooks took ground balls at third base while making easy throws across the diamond. Middlebrooks sat out once again on Sunday.
“He’ll hit [on Monday] and he’s got some swelling in the finger and we’ll see how he comes in,” Boles said. “It’s just one of those things where he’s got to get that swelling down, and throwing is the last thing that he needs to get through. Swinging the bat, he hasn’t felt it as much, but the throwing and having that carry and the amount of reps with the throwing program just to make sure that the finger is right.”
— Garin Cecchini has taken well to his new spot in left field. In attempt to increase Cecchini’s versatility, the Red Sox recently began to play the third baseman in the outfield, allowing him to get a feel for the position and set him up as outfield depth.
Boles has seen marked improvement from Cecchini in the outfield and says that he already is a serviceable outfielder.
“He’s done a nice job,” Boles said. “Clean routes and first initial three steps have been pretty good. He’s still learning as far as reading the ball off the bats. Slicing away. top spin, line drive, positioning with the center fielder, engaging that way. He’s done nice. He’s taken to it and he’s kept things in order from a throwing standpoint and doing some game management, and that’s just through experience. That’s the only way you can learn that, getting rehearsal, rehearsing in practice and making sure that it translates into the game, and I think it’s something that is going to be a process. The first initial read that we’ve seen has been pretty impressive.”
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