SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The first-place Boston Red Sox are giving 20-year-old shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts his chance in the big leagues for the stretch run.
More than anything, the move is to give the regulars a break when needed so everybody stays fresh for September.
Bogaerts, who is from Aruba, had his contract selected from Triple-A Pawtucket and he flew cross-country with Boston on Monday morning in time to open a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
When his first at-bat arrives, Bogaerts plans to let things come to him.
“Oh man, I’ll probably try to get a walk,” he said, grinning. “Be as patient as possible, not try to be too over aggressive, just enjoy the time.”
Manager John Farrell said he might give Bogaerts a start as soon as Tuesday night.
“He’s had a very good year offensively,” Farrell said. “He’s still got some development to do on the defensive side that he’s working through, as well as on the basepaths. But we’re talking about a young, exciting offensive player — a very good player all around that, at 20 years of age, is still developing. But we feel like he as a person and his abilities will give us a shot in the arm and make an impact here.”
Bogaerts provides depth at third base and shortstop for Boston after batting .297 with 15 home runs, six triples, 23 doubles and 67 RBIs in 116 minor league games between Triple-A and Double-A this season.
He was playing dominoes at the team hotel when he got word from Triple-A manager Gary DiSarcina of the promotion, then flew to Boston late Sunday.
He said he received valuable experience in the World Baseball Classic for The Netherlands, an unlikely semifinalist.
The Red Sox certainly have seen big strides in a matter of months.
“In spring training, when I came back from the WBC, my timing was off so I was really bad,” he said. “I put a lot of work and effort into it and I’m here right now.”
Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens was his WBC manager — with pitchers from Holland and position players from the Dutch “ABC” islands — and thrilled to hear from Bogaerts he was coming to San Francisco.
“He’s 20 years old. I’m sure he didn’t expect to do that this quick,” Meulens said. “He’s been their No. 1 prospect, so he’s been on the path. The Classic exposed him a little bit. He was up and down a little bit the Classic but he got the experience and they knew the talent. … I’m happy for him. The more guys from the islands who come up, it makes us feel proud because our program is working, the talent is there. We put a lot of work in with these guys. Now they get here and they get to show it off.”
Bogaerts hopes he lasts until through the team’s six-game, seven day interleague road swing out West — then his family can come see him at Fenway Park.
“I think it’ll be better hopefully if I’m still with the team when we go to Boston,” he said. “I mean it’s just too far from home and short notice.”
Bogaerts realizes he is making his mark for Aruba, which saw countryman Sidney Ponson pitch parts of 12 major league seasons.
“Curacao has a lot of guys who have a lot of talent and a lot more guys on their way. Aruba’s probably not that advanced as them,” Bogaerts said. “I mean, I’m probably the first guy from Aruba in a long time to come up in the major leagues, so I’ll probably just enjoy it, man.”
Also Monday, Boston activated catcher David Ross from the 60-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Brayan Villarreal from Pawtucket.
Right-handers Andrew Bailey and Clay Buchholz were transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster for Bogaerts and Ross. In other roster moves, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, infielder Brock Holt and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa were optioned to Pawtucket late Sunday.